I have heard over and over again that learning Sign Language will delay speech or can be detrimental to a child in so many ways, but we push to teach EVERY OTHER LANGUAGE to our sweet children to make them as smart as we can.
So I must ask, “Why is American Sign Language any different?” The answer, it’s not! Even as your child goes to school and enters adulthood ASL can be a great bridge for vocabulary, memory, and social skills. You may be asking, “What are these benefits you are talking about and where is the research?” I wanted to know the same thing when I had my daughter, so I combed through the real research to bring you a list of benefits for each age group. These benefits will depend on how often you are using signs with your child, however, if you are planning on teaching American Sign Language as a second, or even third, language you will be working on ASL at least an hour a day.
You can read more about how to start your child on ASL at any age here.
And guess what? There are even benefits for you as you learn this beautiful language with your child!
Benefits for Baby
Signing with your baby provides him/her with the ability to communicate earlier than speech
Earlier communication may decrease tantrum behavior
Teaching sign language to your child may increase your child’s reading and spelling skills, and even IQ! (1)
American Sign Language is the fastest-growing language offered at colleges nationwide. It has gained popularity and is now being taught for foreign language credit in American schools and colleges across the country. (2)
- Studies show that children who learn signs from an early age do not have a speech delay, but rather are more efficient in language skills than children who do not use signs and gestures. (3)
Benefits for Older Children
- For older children “benefits include enhanced bonding and communication, development of fine motor skills, and assistance with reading and comprehension well into the elementary school years.” (4)
- Builds a Better Vocabulary (5)
Benefits for Adults
- Visual Cognition
- Increased Phonological Awareness and Word Recognition (6)
- Want the full list of benefits for you and your child? Download it below!
(1) Yeh, K. (2012). Playing With Words 365. Retrieved September 13, 2015, from http://www.playingwithwords365.com/2012/05/9-reasons-to-teach-sign-language-to-your-hearing-infant-or-toddler/
(2) Academics – Onondaga Community College. (2015). Retrieved September 13, 2015, from http://admission.sunyocc.edu/academics.aspx?nav=265&title=5967&id=29604
(3) Goodwyn, S., Acredolo, L., & Brown, C. (2000). Impact of Symbolic Gesturing on Early Language Development. Retrieved September 13, 2015, from http://faculty.washington.edu/sommej/Goodwynetal2000.pdf
(4) Jones, C. (2006). The Benefits of Sign Language for ALL Children. Retrieved September 13, 2015, from http://www.deaf-culture-online.com/sign-language-for-children.html
(5) O, C. (2013, July 29). 5 Ways Sign Language Benefits the Hearing: How ASL Improves Communication. Retrieved September 13, 2015, from http://www.speechbuddy.com/blog/language-development/5-ways-sign-language-benefits-the-hearing/
(6) Melvin, S. (2013). The Effects of Learning American Sign Language on College Students’ Spatial Cognition. Retrieved September 13, 2015, from http://wesscholar.wesleyan.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=2047&context=etd_hon_theses