Baby Signs by Linda Acredolo and Susan Goodwyn

Read: 22 November, 2011

Much of what is terrible about the “terrible twos” come down to baby brains developing faster than their speech is able to communicate. The frustration of having ideas, needs, observations to communicate but no ability to do so leads to conflict.

Baby Signs proposes a solution. While speech may be difficult for very young children, a modified sign language may help smooth the transition into verbal fluency.

The book is fairly well written and it’s a very quick read. It introduces the information at an appropriate pace and in a good order. The illustrations showing the signs themselves are clear and easy to understand. I especially liked that the dictionary at the back noted which signs were official ASL and which are designed specifically for this theory.

I don’t know how to evaluate the theory itself, although I did notice a few small pink flags. For example, at one point, the authors recommend purchasing their video tapes, that should be watched by babies to help teach them. To reinforce the legitimacy of this, they mention the Baby Einstein videos, which have been fully debunked. In fact, all research that I’ve read says that videos are no good for teaching babies.

The theory seems worth trying to avoid frustration for simple and common issues, such as asking for more food, asking for a drink, or complaining about discomfort.

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