All signs point to ‘baby sign language’ as growing trend

SASKATOON – All parents have experienced it, your infant is crying and figuring out why can be a frustrating guessing game.

Attempting to break that barrier, baby sign language has become a popular option.

The course called ‘My Smart Hands’ just opened in Saskatoon.

Nineteen-month-old Elijah, like most kids his age, is just learning to talk.

Additionally, Elijah is learning a second language, something that has many benefits according to ‘My Smart Hands’ Instructor, Tanya Myrfield-Wolfe.

“Instead of having the baby point they can sign that they want to eat or they want milk or grapes. It takes out the guessing work which reduces frustration for the children as well as on the parent’s side,” said Myrfield-Wolfe.

For those unable to form oral words just yet – baby sign language is built on a principle that signing enables infants to communicate sooner and some research shows it also advances verbal skills.

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Parents enrolled in the class with their infants note this as a persuading benefit.

“If anything is going to make him smarter or more developed all the power to it” said Laurie Penner, a thought echoed by classmate mom, Samantha Shynkaruk.

“They know the sign, they want to learn the word,” said Shynkaruk.

Speech Language Pathologist Tammy Klassen says research doesn’t explore whether communication develops because of the sign language or because of an increased interaction with parents.

Sign language instructors don’t recommend the classes as a remedy for a language delay but still say benefits are numerous including socialization of children.

Fall classes to ‘My Smart Hands’ filled in two weeks.

The program is international, teaching babies all over North America, Mexico, Europe, Asia and even the Middle East.

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