Thursday, June 6, 2013

Why I Think Signing Smart Should Have a Place in Your Family

There are a litany of reasons I would encourage any family to sign with their children. especially with the Signing Smart program.  Families who supplement their spoken language interactions with their children with American Sign Language (ASL) signs meaningful to them are enhancing both early communication and long term learning. Below is a list of my favorite reasons for choosing to sign with little ones using the Signing Smart program.

(Want to start signing with your own child?  Check out for a workshop or play class near you!  Are you in the Northeast Ohio area? Please e-mail me at!)

  • Reduced frustration and tantrums

    • Children as young as 7 months (even younger on occasion) can express their wants and needs
    • Toddlers can clarify their speech
    • Did you know that many tantrums stem from frustration over not being understood?
  • 100% American Sign Language
    • Many infant and toddler sign language programs actually use made up gestures instead of REAL Sign Language
      • If you're going to put out the effort to learn a language, learn one that others can understand as well
      • Language facilitates language  - the brain favors orgainzed language units
    • Consistency
      • No need to try to remember all the invented gestures you developed
      • Is your gesture for "CAR" different than another caregiver in your child's life?
    • Limitless vocabulary
      • Want to use a sign that isn't part of the program?  All you have to do is look in an ASL dictionary
    • Expand your learning to communicate with other ASL users
      • Signing Smart gives you the perfect base to go on and learn a whole new language
      • Create connections in the brain now to facilitate bilingualism later
      • Communicate with deaf children and adults

  • Better understand your child's linguistic and cognitive milestones
    • What counts as a "word"?  How many words does he/she have?
    • When can I expect my child to sign back and how many signs can I expect when?
    • When will my child start speaking?
    • Signing Smart was developed by two mothers who happen to be developmental psychologists, Dr. Michelle Anthony and Dr. Reyna Lindert
  • Enhanced feeling of empowerment for your child
    • Children can initiate conversation
    • Children can share what they wonder about, remember, and find interesting
    • Children can let you know when they're hurt or sick or what they dislike
  • Research-proven strategies that make signing fun, easy, and successful
    • Anyone can learn to sign with their child
      • Signing Smart gives you the tools and strategies to make it happen
    • Any child can learn to sign
      • Many signs, especially early ones, use natural movements and hand shapes for baby
  • Open a window into your child's mind 
    • Get to know their likes and dislikes
    • Even though  the muscles needed for speech aren't developed until well after 1 year, babies are ready to communicate long before that
  • Advanced linguistic and cognitive abilities 
    • Learning is triggered via multiple senses
    • Research has shown children who sign have stronger linguistic abilities and higher IQs through the elementary years
What are your favorite reasons for signing with your little one?  (I do moderate comments to weed out spammers.  Thanks for your patience!)

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