Thursday, November 27, 2003

Parents, infants learn sign language: "Colorado Springs parents are part of a rapidly growing trend of using signing to communicate with hearing babies. &0133; The idea isn't to replace the spoken word, but to establish two-way communication with children who have the motor skills to make signs but haven't yet developed the skills needed for speech.

"Teachers at the A. Sophie Rogers Laboratory School at Ohio State University have been using American Sign Language as a tool for communication with infants and young toddlers for several years.

"'We've always felt very strongly that children have lots of thoughts and ideas, but just didn't have the means to get them out,' says Michelle Sanderson, director of the school. 'We know that at 13 months of age, they have about a 50-word vocabulary of what they can understand but only a two- or three-word vocabulary of what they can say.'

"A commonly voiced concern is that signing will discourage a baby from learning to speak, but studies have shown the opposite is true. Research has found that babies exposed to signing have higher IQs, accelerated language development and a greater interest in books, among other benefits."

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