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baby benefits Benefits and Research

In Your Home

  • Reduces frustration for your baby and all family members and caregivers
  • Strengthens your parent-child bond
  • Accelerates receptive and expressive language development and improves motor skills
  • Stimulates intellectual growth during the formative years of brain development, which can lead to higher IQ scores and increased vocabulary and literacy skills
  • Provides effective communication up to a year before your baby’s vocal chords are fully formed
  • Allows a peek inside your child’s mind to discover your baby’s emerging personality
  • Targets multiple learning styles through visual, verbal, auditory and kinesthetic cues
  • Empowers babies with a means of early communication capitalizing on their natural tendency to use gestures
  • Allows for communication directed to the specific needs and wants of your child with the ability to tailor the practice to meet your family’s needs
  • Reduces temper tantrums now and eases the future “Terrible Twos” caused by two years of built up frustration of not being understood

In Childcare Settings

  • Lowers noise levels in preschool classrooms by reducing frustrated screaming and crying
  • Minimizes stress and frustration for caregivers who are responsible for meeting the needs of several children at once
  • Reduces the “guesswork” in meeting each child’s needs resulting in more available time for positive developmental interactions
  • Allows children to communicate with their caregivers from a distance (near or far) appropriately and effectively
  • Reduces problems with “acting out behaviors” such as biting and hitting
  • Increases children’s comfort in expressing emotions, especially when they are too upset or shy to effectively voice their feelings
  • Encourages gentle reminders by caregivers about appropriate behavior or manners without drawing attention to these reminders
  • Increases eye contact between children and their caregivers and helps little ones to stay focused on the task at hand
  • spacer2 Benefits and ResearchInitiates the use of a legitimate second language and allows hearing children the opportunity to interact with others whose primary means of communication is American Sign Language

title research1 Benefits and Research

There has been a great deal of independent research supporting the short and long-term benefits of signing with hearing babies. Links to articles detailing some of the findings are below.

  • An endorsement for using sign language with hearing babies from the Mayo Clinic’s Emeritus Consultant, Jay L. Hoecker, M.D. The only thing I disagree with the good doctor about is waiting until your baby is 8 months old to sign.  Many of the 1,800+ Hop to Signaroo baby graduates have signed back earlier, some as young as 5 months old!  Maybe that’s why our infant sign language classes have been called Seattle’s finest and one of the best in the country!
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  • Dr. Marilyn Daniels, Professor of Communication Arts and Sciences at Penn State University and renowned researcher in the field of American Sign Language, endorses the use of ASL with hearing babies and children for a variety of reasons.
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  • Dr. Robert C. Fifer, PhD., Director of Audiology and Speech Pathology at the University of Miami’s Miller School of Medicine conducted a government-funded study which showed that once signing babies were talking their vocabulary surpassed their non-signing peers and at eight years of age, children who signed as babies scored an average of 12 points higher on IQ tests than non-signers.
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  • Doctoral Student of Psychology at University of Washington, Ursula Hildebrandt, conducted a study finding that infants exposed to American Sign Language prefer it to pantomime, demonstrating that humans show a broad preference for languages over “non-languages”, even unfamiliar languages of a completely unique modality such as ASL.
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  • Professor Karen Emmorey, a San Diego State University Linguist, used brain scans to determine that when individuals are exposed to true sign language, the speech production portion of the brain becomes active and this isn’t the case with gestures or pantomim

  • A summary of two studies that demonstrated how people who sign use the right and left hemispheres of their brain in a completely unique way.
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  • Psychologist Dr. Gwyneth Doherty-Sneddon of the University of Stirling, UK weighs in on the research about American Sign Language with hearing babies.  Joseph Garcia, mentioned in this article for his research in the 1980′s, went on to receive a Ph.D. in Child Development and wrote the first book pioneering the use of ASL for hearing babies.
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  • Kimberlee Whaley, an Associate Professor of Human Development and Family Science at Ohio State, conducted a pilot study with signing babies at Ohio State’s Infant-Toddler Laboratory School.
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  • Clinical neuropsychologist Dr. Paul Nussbaum, Ph.D. hypothesizes that the neurological benefits of learning ASL could be a defense against Alzheimer’s, as potential risk factors for the disease can be triggered in childhood.
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  • Watch a segment from NBC’s Today Show in which a 17 month old toddler reads words and sentences; this is absolutely astounding! Her parents, who are both speech pathologists, and the Clinical Director of the Institute of Learning and Academic Achievement at New York University’s Child Study Center attribute her ability, at least in part, to being exposed to American Sign Language as a baby.
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  • At least 25% of Hop to Signaroo families are bilingual and ASL can be a highly-effective, concrete link to connect two spoken languages for babies.  A study from Concordia University and York University in Canada and the Université de Provence in France finds that toddlers who learn a second language from infancy have an edge over their monolingual peers.

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