Are there benefits of sign language in toddlers with a speech delay? Think about it like this: toddlers with speech delays may not use verbal words until they’re 3 or older. Even toddlers without speech delays typically don’t say many words until after their second birthday. They can, however, learn to sign much earlier. I have always wanted to teach my children sign language as another form of communication. I should probably get on that now that my son is one! Here are some benefits to teaching (and learning) sign language to your toddler who might have a speech delay.
Benefits of Sign Language in Toddler Speech Delay
But won’t signing delay speech even more?
One might think so. Seems logical right? You teach your child to sign, they don’t need to learn spoken language. Except just the opposite is true. You are giving your child an opportunity to communicate with you, this takes away frustrations. You know how frustrated you get when you can’t seem to get your point across to someone? Imagine not being able to do that times 100. Teaching your child sign language is actually giving him an opportunity to have the time to learn spoken language, because he has the ability to communicate through signing.
If your child has a delay in speech, he can still communicate what his wants and needs. Teaching him sign language is going to expand his way to communicate those wants and needs with you. I have always wanted to teach my children sign language, I feel it is an important skill to learn. It is another means of communicating other than spoken word, which, if your child has a speech delay, is frustrating for both I am sure.
Stop the tantrums
I am not saying your child will miraculously now become a little angel and never throw themselves on the floor when you give them the red cup instead of the blue. What I mean is that if your child can effectively communicate what he needs, it might eliminate the need for a tantrum (sometimes).
Do I have to become fluent?
No. Not unless you want to. It will benefit you both (and others who will be communicating with your child) to learn some key and basic signs. Your child will be able to tell you things he wants such as ‘more milk’ or ‘I am hungry’ when you learn some simple signs that he will need to use. Think about the things he would say to you if he could. Those are the signs you want to learn and teach him so you can better communicate to each other. Check out this great video for more signs to teach your child:
These are just a few of the benefits of sign language in toddlers with a speech delay. If you decide to learn a few signs to help your child communicate better, rest assured it is not going delay his speech any more, it may actually help him to learn to speak because he won’t be so frustrated at trying to tell you what his needs are.