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Will learning sign language delay your child's speech development?

Smyrna-Vinings Patch Mom's Council member Jessica Knoop discusses the benefits of teaching your child sign language.

Teaching American Sign Language (ASL) to a hearing baby was once viewed as a fad, but parents now realize it is a valuable tool for communication with their children. Studies show hearing children who use ASL tend to have larger vocabularies, higher IQ scores, and learn to read sooner. 

My Smart Hands - Atlanta now teaches baby sign language classes to parents and children in Vinings, Smyrna, and Atlanta areas.

I am very honored to be part of a wonderful educational company like My Smart Hands. I have used sign language with my 18-month-old since she was a baby and have seen wonderful benefits, including decreased tantrums and increased communication.

Many parents fear using sign language with their children will delay speech development, but in fact the opposite is true. Baby sign language reduces frustration, accelerates verbal development, and strengthens cognitive skills.  Typically, children have a spoken vocabulary of no more than ten words by the time they are 12 months old. However children have control of their hands, and therefore can use sign language, much earlier in life. Using ASL with hearing children allows parents to communicate with their children long before their children can speak.

By the time my daughter was 14 months old, she had a sign language vocabulary of nearly 50 words.

My Smart Hands – Atlanta offers eight-week baby sign language courses to parents and children where participants learn over 150 signs per course; four-week baby sign language courses to parents and children where participants learn over 75 signs per course, as well as child educator workshops designed to show teachers and child care providers how to use sign language with the children in their care. For more information about My Smart Hands - Atlanta, visit them online here or find them on Facebook here.

Smyrna-Vinings Patch's Moms Council members:

  • Jennifer Duncan has two children at King Springs Elementary.
  • Jessica Knoop is a mother of two, has an M.Ed in Reading, is a licensed K-12 educator in Georgia, and lives in Vinings. She started teaching Infant and Toddler Sign Language as a way to be home with her 18-month-old as well as still do what she loves - teach.
  • Jenn Purdy is the founder and co-director of Lumina Birth. She is a childbirth educator, doula, nutrition coach, personal trainer, locavore, and mother of four awesome home-educated kids.
  • Alice Turner is a mother of four, birth doula, childbirth educator and the owner of YourBirthBag.com.

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