Everyone knows their child’s first language is going to be the language they speak, but is that really the best way? That may sound counter intuitive, but what if there was a better way? Some research suggest that there might be. What if a child’s first language is sign language?
When babies use gestures from American Sign Language, it allows them to have a communication skill like no other. At this young of an age, you want what’s best for your child. When babies are around the months of eight to twelve months, frustration builds up when children try to express what they want, and they can not communicate it. But by using sign language this allows children to communicate their needs and wants. Sign language provides the ability to communicate earlier than speech. Therefore, having early communication can reduce tantrum behaviors. The capability to express emotions, will reduce the conflict of not understanding their emotions and help to reduce tantrums. Learning Sign Language as a first language at a young age also increases vocabulary and language skills. This allows children to excel at a younger level of education. Parents who teach their babies often feel closer with their child. Interacting with your child through signing allows you to understand at their level. For instance, by just getting down to their eye level, tells your child that you are on the same page as them and are willing to learn with them.
Signing in general is frustrating and takes practice. To master it, you must take the time to learn. When signing with children it can be even more frustrating and time consuming. This also takes a lot of patients. This will pay off though because it, gives your child the opportunity to grow without feeling pressured. Children learning sign language are now able to communicate in difficult situations.
After my brother Christian was born with Down Syndrome, we used sign language in order to communicate with him. This allowed us to sign with him when he wasn’t able to speak. I learned sign language by the time I was four years old. It wasn’t for my benefit, but it did benefit me. Not only was I able to communicate with my brother, I had accomplished a difficult task at a young age that helped to improve the way I understood the world around me, and enabled me to communicate with a larger population that many people are cut off from. These skills have enabled me to reach other individuals with disabilities. If a child has a disability or not, using sign language is beneficial for faster communication at a young age, it also opens the door to other communities that otherwise would remain hidden.