Why I am Teaching Sign Language to My Son

Lauren Barrett Writes
6 min readDec 31, 2020

1. Sign language is another way to make connections

Babies and toddlers are growing up in a very stimulating world. They have a lot coming at them every day. Bright lights. Loud sounds. Fast-paced action. Sign language is another way for them to make connections to language.

When my son and I read a book, I point to a picture, say the word, and sign it.

When I talk, I sign key words (MORE, PLEASE, MILK, WATER, etc).

When we spell out words with his little magnet letters, I say and sign the word as well.

When we are out and about and see everyday things, I point, say, and sign what it is.

In all, he’s getting the spoken, written, picture or real-life representation, and ASL version of a word. Sometimes all at once.

Sometimes not, but either way it’s one more way for a young child to begin forming word recognition and connections. Low-hanging fruit.

2. Sign language helps with communication

Research has shown that too much screen time can cause speech delays in children, but sometimes screen time can be unavoidable in a technology driven world.

Sign Language can help. Studies have found that sign language taught at an early age can help progress speech development faster. In addition, sign language aids in easing frustrations.

Oftentimes, toddlers don’t have the words to produce what they want, but they are able to sign what they want.

Does it eliminate all whining and tantrums? No, but sign language prevents unnecessary prolonged crying.

For example, instead of whining and leaving my guessing what he wants, my son can sign when he wants to drink milk, eat food, go to sleep, get more to eat, and be all done eating. He brings me a toy he wants opened or turned on by signing please.

On the other hand, we can sign when something is “hot, no touch,” and he can repeat back by saying, “hot” and backing away.

He also can find his toy animals when we sign what they are. We can see that he is reasoning in his mind that he understands what we just signed, and he is trying to put the pieces again. Then, the…