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Baby Signs

  • By: Deborah Chen Pichler
  • In: The SAGE Deaf Studies Encyclopedia
  • Edited by: Genie Gertz & Patrick Boudreault
  • Subject:Physical Disabilities, Otorhinolaryngology (Ears, Nose, & Throat)

Baby signs is a generic term encompassing a variety of symbolic gestures taught to hearing infants by their hearing parents. Proponents claim that baby signs allow infants to communicate earlier than they would in speech, reducing frustration and accelerating language development. In recent years, the market for learning baby signs has exploded, particularly in English-speaking countries, giving rise to a spectrum of instructional offerings ranging from books and DVDs to online franchises that also organize training classes. The specific form of baby signs varies depending on the instructional program. Some advocate the use of signs based on American Sign Language (ASL), British Sign Language (BSL), or other natural sign languages (e.g., Joseph Garcia’s Sign2Me Early Learning program), while others encourage families to create their own ...

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