Before my son was born, I had a moment of panic because I could picture him lying in his crib and crying because he couldn’t be understood. I knew then that I wanted to use American Sign Language as a tool to begin communicating with him as early on as possible. It may have been the hormones, but imagining him cold or hungry and crying, just broke my heart.
For years, I had worked as a behaviour therapist with children who were non-verbal. I knew from my work that we see challenging behaviours from children with Down syndrome or autism because they can’t be understood. My job was to help lessen those behaviors, by teaching these little ones to use pictures or sign language to help them communicate their wants and needs. Thankfully, over the years, reactions to the idea of signing with all babies has changed from a whispered, “Oh, that’s only for children with special needs” to an excited “When can we start signing? Where are your classes?”
When it came to my child, even though he was hearing and typically developing, I knew that I wanted to teach him how to sign in order to help him communicate at an early age, and I would encourage you to do the same with your children. There are a number of benefits that I’ve learned from both my professional research and my own experience signing with my son and other little ones.
This post originally appeared on CareAcademy.co and reprinted with Permission.