While some claim that it is entirely possible to communicate with young babies by using a series of sign language based gestures, others argue that it can inhibit actual language development in the long term. This position paper strives to examine both sides of this issue in order to make an informed determination as to the efficacy of using baby sign language.
One of the main arguments revolving around whether or not to use sign language with babies involves the notion that teaching signs to babies will help them to learn more words. It seems that little to no research affirms this belief, however, as it is more likely that body signs and symbols may simply improvement methods of communications between the two parties, and enable the parent to understand what the baby is actually trying to say. While this is certainly important, particularly for frustrated parents who simply cannot determine what their baby might be upset about, it does not indicate that babies actually are learning through the process (DeLoache & Chiong, 2009). To be clear, however, there are still many scholars that do contend that a combination of verbal speech and body or hand gestures can contribute to a baby expanding their vocabulary at an early age. This has been one of the disagreements that make advocating such a position, either in favor or against, so difficult.
It is important to note that baby sign language does not refer to American Sign Language, as it is more talking about communicative gestures made specifically between parents and their young babies. While it is possible to teach a baby American Sign Language, it would be similar to using any type of verbal language, and is not the focus of this study. When referring to the use of baby sign language, however, scholars are typically referring to the action of encouraging babies ...Show more