Babies can be taught sign language to express their needs before they learn to speak!
After performing extensive studies on the topic, Dr. Susan W. Goodwyn of California State University and Dr. Linda P. Acredolo of the University of California have found that babies who learn sign language before speech developed more advanced language skills and engaged in more complex social interactions than children who learned to communicate through speech alone.
These findings lay a lot of fears to rest that teaching babies sign language will interfere with their ability to learn speech. It is obviously recommended that parents speak to the child while signing so that the child can understand that the word and the sign represent the same concept.
According to the Web site ‘Signing With Your Baby’, children can be taught sign language from the age of six months old. Children can cope with a vocabulary of about twelve sign words in the beginning. As soon as children understand the significance of signs, they will be eager to learn signs for everything around them.
Many parents teach their babies need-based signs. This could greatly reduce frustration in both the baby and the parents. Common need-based signs include "more," "eat" or "drink." It is very useful if a child can communicate its needs before it has mastered speech.