Hey baby, what's your sign?
I gave it a twirl when my daughter was about 1. I started with the simple signs: more, eat and drink.
Unfortunately, I stopped there. My daughter didn't seem to catch on right away and, honestly, some of my old-school relatives thought it was a little peculiar. After all, there was absolutely nothing wrong with her hearing. Why bother?
I wish I had known about Diane Ryan and her book, The Complete Idiot's Guide to Baby Sign Language. In it, she talks about how to get started and gives drawings on dozens of different signs. She stresses that learning to sign doesn't happen overnight. It takes time and perseverance. You can read here more of the interview I did with her.
The benefits are numerous, from boosting a child's IQ to accelerating verbal skills. Geez, now I'm feeling guilty.
Fortunately, my daughter, who's almost 2 1/2, is talking more and more every day. And as far as the IQ goes, I guess I'll just have to wait and see. I'm hoping all that breast milk did the trick.
-- Susan Thurston