How about being able to communicate with your child with Down syndrome before he or she can speak? Children with Down syndrome often have speech delays, so communication can be particularly frustrating for parents.
Most early childhood tantrums and behavior problems are caused by children who cannot adequately communicate what they need or want. Don’t worry though, there is a possible solution to these communication problems, and it’s called baby sign language.
Baby sign language helps children with Down syndrome
Baby sign language is gaining popularity across the country. By teaching your baby or toddler with Down syndrome some key signs, you will have a way to communicate with them long before they are old enough to be able to use actual speech. Fewer communication problems means that both the child and the parents are calmer and happier.
Teaching sign language to a baby with Down syndrome
Some may be surprised by the idea of teaching sign language to a baby down syndrome dog. After all, it is a fairly new idea. But once you get over the novelty and read studies and articles about it, you’ll find that it can really work.
Some people will wrongly claim that teaching sign language will delay the onset of verbal language. This is not true. In fact, signs stimulate certain areas of the brain that are used for verbal language development.
Studies have shown that children who sign before speaking actually have greater language development and verbal ability when they begin to speak, and they usually begin speaking on time.
Most babies can detect signs before they can speak
Most babies can hear you talk and have wants and things they prefer even at a very young age, so not being able to express these things is very frustrating for them. Most babies can detect the signs before they can speak. A baby is usually not ready for speech development (fine motor skills) until at least one year of age or older, but can use his hands to sign generally around six months (gross motor skills).
Since babies with Down syndrome often have speech delays and may not speak until two to three years of age, sign language can make a big difference while you wait. Sign language also naturally increases a child’s self-esteem, as she feels good about being able to communicate.
How do I teach my baby to sign?
You may feel a bit overwhelmed at this point and wonder how you are going to teach your baby with Down syndrome to sign in a language that she does not know. However, there are many resources available to help you. There are many books on baby sign language; online tutorials that will explain what you need to learn; and even baby sign classes that she can take.
The baby sign is based on American Sign Language (ASL), but you don’t need to know all of ASL to be able to talk to your baby, just maybe the 15-20 most common words you think your baby should know to communicate . with you.
Choose basic and useful words
Think about the signs that would be most helpful to your child. Most people start out with things like milk, plus, eating, drinking, and sleeping.
You will want to use the sign as often as possible. You must say the actual word when signing it, as this will help with your child’s language development. So if you were sitting down to dinner, you could sign the word “eat” multiple times. Then you could show your child how to use his hands to signal.
If the child signals back, be sure to praise him and offer positive reinforcement. The more excited and happy you are when she uses her signs, the more she will want to do.
You must be as enthusiastic as possible. The signs may not go well at first, but they will improve over time. Before long, your baby with Down syndrome will have a way to communicate with you.