Sign Language Helps Hearing Kids Learn

by ksteed
If you want to provide your toddler with an enriching but quiet activity, try introducing sign language. American sign language can help youngsters with normal hearing can improve their early communication skills with their parents, says Dr. Marilyn Daniels, an associate professor of speech communication at Penn State University. From birth, children use their hands instinctively to communicate and acquire information. She cites the example of one whiny 9-month-old boy whose mother started teaching him ASL to communicate better with him. By 14 months, he knew more ASL than spoken words, and now, at more than 2, he is trying to teach his baby sister to sign. 'Sign does not hinder language development in any way, in fact it fosters it,' Dr. Daniels says. 'Sign language has the unique capacity to tap into the natural exchange between hand and brain, optimizing the emergence of language in the child because of the physiological advantage of ASL over English.'

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