When to Teach Sign Language to a Child with Hearing Loss?

teach sign language to a child

Experts say that although babies aren’t able to speak at six months, they can recognize and use hand signals. This is because their motor skills and ability to understand a language develop before their speech skills do.

So When do You Teach Sign Language to a Child?

The answer is anytime from six months old. The best is to start teaching your child when he or she is ready to start communicating. Teaching your baby sign language will make communication less frustrating for the both of you and will lead to a closer bond.

The idea to teach sign language to a child with a signs vocabulary was first proposed by Joseph Garcia, child development specialist. It was taken further and applied to babies without hearing impairment. Garcia discovered how the normal babies of deaf parents learned sign language and were better able to express their needs. Garcia noted that these benefits could be felt by hearing children as well as deaf children too. When a baby is able to sign what he or she needs, there will be less screaming and more peaceful cooperation.

It is best to teach your child the proper signs so he or she can then build on their sign language vocabulary. If you create signs on your own, you will still go through the effort of teaching the sign but it will have no use outside of your home and won’t add to your child’s vocabulary.

A Promising Trend

The rising trend in parents wanting to teach sign language to a child without hearing impairment is also beneficial to those with hearing impairments as they will be able to communicate with other children. It is a step in the right direction with regards to future communication access for the hearing impaired.