The Benefits of Teaching Sign Language To A Verbal Child
Sign Language has been proven to be beneficial when used with verbal children. Dr Marilyn Daniels has conducted over ten years of research in the U.S. and the U.K. on the benefits of using sign language with verbal children and below are a list of her findings:
Sign language can be used to improve hearing children’s:
Dr Daniels found that children who were exposed to sign language had larger English-language vocabularies than non-signing children.
Three other studies (which did not involve Dr Daniels) that researched introducing sign language to children through music highlighted that this is also a great way to enhance your child’s vocabulary.
Sign language involves using your hands, body and facial expressions to communicate with those around you. As it is a visual language, learning this language involves using the visual-spatial part of your brain. This is the same part of the brain that we use to learn to read. For this reason, sign language can be very beneficial to teach verbal children as it exercises the same part of their brain that is linked to reading.
Research also shows that children who learn sign language are more readily able to translate letters and words to the written language.
Self-esteem & Self-confidence:
Research in both preverbal and verbal children highlights that those children who are exposed to sign language are generally more self confident and have increased self-esteem.
Increased interest in books and literacy skills:
By using sign language with your child, you are also increasing your child’s interest in book and Dr Daniels research highlighted that using sign language from infancy through to sixth grade results in improved literacy.
Stimulate Brain Development:
Dr Daniels highlights that learning sign language can stimulate brain development as when learning sign language you use both the left and right hemisphere of the brain compared to learning a spoken language, which only uses the brain’s left hemisphere.
Research conducted by Linda Acredolo & Susan Goodwyn also indicated children exposed to sign language as babies had a 12 point higher I.Q. at eight years of age than non-signing children. Click here for more information on this research
Increased Memory Retention:
When sign language is incorporated into other learning activities, children are learning visually, verbally, and kinesthetically all at the same time—simultaneously engaging children of different learning styles and creating greater memory retention.