How Can You Use Sign Language?
Before hearing aids, sign language used to be the most common way to communicate with someone who was deaf and could not hear spoken language. In fact, the long history of sign language dates back to the 1500s if not earlier. Some historians argue that early man must have communicated via gestures before spoken language was created.
However, sign language is not only used by people who can not hear. Take a moment to think about the different times you may use hand gestures to communicate. A popular usage of hand gestures is during sporting events. Athletes often use hand signals to communicate with their teammates. Many baseball and football hand cues used today were created for coaches to communicate with deaf players.
In the 1800s William Dwight Whitney observed that babies in deaf families could communicate better and faster than babies in hearing families. To communicate via spoken language, fine motor control is needed to move many different muscles in a particular sequence in order to produce intelligible speech. The normal developmental age for a baby’s first spoken word is 9 – 12 months. Whereas, to communicate via sign language only gross motor skills are needed to move the arms and hands to communicate the intended message. With simple at-home exercises, babies as young as 6 months old can communicate their basic needs. Some common hand gestures are water, milk, more, and tired.
For sure, all parents would appreciate knowing what their child wanted 3 months earlier than usual. Once the basic signs are mastered, we can work on more advanced signs for animals and of course please and thank you. Research shows that babies who communicate via sign language are more likely to have a larger spoken vocabulary, up to 12 points of a higher IQ, and feel less frustrated.
There are many benefits of sign language for both hearing and hearing-impaired individuals. There is a myriad of information available online regarding the history of sign language and how to teach your child baby sign language.
Dr. Olson and Sophisticated Hearing are dedicated to our special sense of hearing. If you have any questions about hearing and how to communicate with others please do not hesitate to contact our office.