Encouraging the development of a child's speech
Using simple signing for the most important key words babies are starting to learn, is widely recognised by speech and language experts as beneficial in encouraging the development of a child's speech. To read an indepth exploration of this view please click here
Sing and Sign is widely recommended by Sure Start, the Government's programme to deliver the best start in life for every child. Since 2002, Sure Start services across the UK have chosen to fund many Sing and Sign groups to benefit local parents. Susan Duffy, Speech and Language Therapist for Sure Start says:
"Sing and Sign is a brilliant programme. We suggest all our mums and babies use signs, as gesture is a natural first form of communication. The gestures shown in Sing and Sign can help babies understand more of what is said to them and enable babies to express themselves earlier. Using signs can make life for parents far less stressful"
Talk to Your Baby is a campaign for the National Literacy Trust promoting early language skills by encouraging parents to talk more to their babies. Sasha Felix, the founder of Sing and Sign was invited to contribute to a recent article on baby signing displayed on their excellent website. Liz Attenborough, manager of the Talk to your Baby campaign says:
"Communication includes so many things alongside talking - gestures, body language, eye contact, physical contact. Babies are born to be sociable,and they want to communicate from day one. Finding a range of ways to have that two-way communication with your baby will help every aspect of their development."
In May 2003, Mothercare invited Sing and Sign to run a course of classes in a number of their larger stores across Britain. Tiana Mapara attended the much publicised group at Mothercare's Head Office. Her mum says:
"Mothercare have been brilliant in offering such a groundbreaking programme; My baby's signing was amazing and now she talks non-stop. She joined a part time nursery at the age of 2 and even they commented on her unusually perfect annunciation and wide vocabulary. I really believe that our early participation in Sing and Sign is responsible."
Elizabeth Morris, Principle of the School of Emotional Literacy says:
"We regularly run signing to baby dayschools because we believe so strongly in the value of this way of relating to young children. It builds such a good foundation for sound self esteem in developing minds that it is a great shame that everyone doesn't do it and give their children an 'innoculation' of self esteem for life! Singing and Signing together is a lovely natural way to do this and I have seen it provide much support and pleasure for parents as well as their children."
Marilyn Daniels (Associate Professor of Speech Communication at Pennsylvania State University) is a prolific and leading researcher into the benefits of using signs with hearing children. Professor Daniels keenly recommends Sing and Sign video. She says:
"The Sing and Sign video is excellent and far superior to any I have seen produced in the United States. Sing and Sign consistently emphasies important educational concepts without losing focus on the pleasure of communicating with signs. The thing I like most is that Sing and Sign shows parents how to teach the babies signs in such a gentle loving way."
In her fascinating book, "Dancing With Words, Signing for Hearing Children's Literacy", Professor Daniels writes:
" Sign language instruction, with its requisite visual component creates an increase in brain activity by engaging the visual cortex and presenting an additional language to the young learner. The heightened cerebral action occurs in both the right and left hemispheres of the brain. This increase in language activity stimulates the development of the brain by stimulating the formation of more synapses, or connections among brain cells. The brains of children up to about the age of eight continue to develop and grow in this manner, in response to environmental input. Brain cells literally live or die as language experiences impinge upon them. Using sign language and English in tandem provides a much richer language base for brain activity and brain growth and development."
To read more about Dr. Daniels' work visit www.marilyndaniels.com