Sign With Your Baby: How to Communicate with Infants Before They Can Speak, by Joseph Garcia, is an excellent book for new parents who wish to communicate with their infants and toddlers at an early age through baby signing. The book is full of warm anecdotes and examples illustrating the benefits of using sign language with the youngest children.
The methods described and recommended in the book are backed up with research and the opinions of professionals in child development.
One of the joys of this easy-to-read book is that It is not necessary to know any sign language in advance to be able to gain much benefit from this book. Garcia has put together an easy-to-use reference tool for anybody and everybody who wishes to sign with their children.
This book is full of easy to copy and perform illustrations of various signs that are relevant to a baby’s or toddler’s life. Some of the signs illustrated in the book are noted as “modified.” The modification is simply an easier way for a toddler to sign a word or concept. While parents and their children can create signs and attach meanings to them, Garcia wisely uses standard ASL signs (and slight modifications) so that people who learn from his book can continue to use the signs later in life.
This book stands on its own. As a family, you could easily use just this tool (and no other) to learn to sign with your baby and each other.
Those who are interested in becoming fluent in ASL may certainly seek out those opportunities, but if the goal is simply to sign with little children, this book is all that is needed.
Very young children develop strength and ability in their hands long before they have developed the physical ability to speak clearly. Baby signing simply gives them the opportunity to communicate before they are able to speak.
Garcia illustrates clearly and with real world examples how the ability to communicate early lessens a child’s (and a parent’s) frustration levels. Instead of crying for various needs, the child is able to tell the parent specifically what their needs are: hungry, very wet, or earache.
Garcia also includes in his enjoyable book research findings and professional opinions backing up the idea that signing with infants and toddlers increases not only their motor skills but their cognitive abilities. The desire we all have to communicate would certainly give these youngest of children much incentive to work on whatever skills give them the ability to “talk.”
Sign With Your Baby: How to Communicate with Infants Before They Can Speak by Joseph Garcia. Copyright 1999 by Joseph Garcia. Co-Published by Northlight Communications: Seattle, WA and Stratton Kehl Publications, Inc.: Bellingham, WA.
Library of Congress Catalog Number 98-89288
This post is part of the series: Teach Infants Sign Language
Developmentally appropriate practices to expose babies and toddlers to sign language.