Latest research at the University of Hertfordshire has proved that using signs with babies have no role in accelerating language development in them.
Findings of this research were published in the latest issue of the journal Child Development.
Baby signs are symbolic gestures that form a part of early communication between the parents and their newborn. It is a traditional belief that using sign language early in the infanthood makes the babies understand and develop vocabulary skills faster.
In addition to improving the mother and baby bonding, it is known to help the baby in picking up spoken skills quicker.
However, a team of scientists from the Psychology department at the University of Hertfordshire has disproved this age-old myth.
The study was conducted under the leadership of Dr Liz Kirk. He and his team recruited 40 pairs of mother-baby participants for the study. All the babies were over 8-months old. In the study, every pair was allotted and trained in using one specific gesture or baby signing symbol. Some of the pairs were control groups who did not use any sign language with the babies. Then the mothers and their babies were tracked for about twelve months.
Findings of the Study
After the duration of the follow-ups, babies were tested for their signing and vocabulary skills.
- It was found that those who were subjected to signing learnt the gestures. However, they could not learn the words associated with the gestures better or faster than their control group.
- A favorable outcome of baby signing is that the bonding between the mother and the baby grows stronger. Also, such mothers are found to be more responsive and receptive to their babies’ clues.
- Signing helped as a tool in dealing with clinical situations and providing timely interventions in case of language delay or speech impairment.