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Post an argument either for or against the use of “baby signs” with infants.

The effects of baby sign language on verbal language development; study support the effect on verbal language development of purposefully encouraging hearing infants to use simple gestures as symbols for objects, requests, and conditions. To this end, 103, 11month-old infants were divided into three groups, all of whom were seen in the laboratory for a variety of assessments, including standardized language tests at 15, 19, 24, 30, and 36 months.  Parents of those in the Sign Training group modeled symbolic gestures and encouraged their infants to use them. Parents of infants in the Non-intervention Control group knew nothing about symbolic gestures or our special interest in language development. As a control for “training effects” (i.e., effects attributable to families being engaged in a language intervention program), parents of a second control group of infants (the Verbal Training group) were asked to make special efforts to model verbal labels. After comparisons of the two control groups minimized concerns about training effects, comparisons between the Sign Training and the Non-intervention Control group indicated an advantage for the Sign Training group on the vast majority of language acquisition measures. These results provide strong evidence that symbolic gesturing does not hamper verbal development and may even facilitate it (Goodwyn, 2000).

The effects of baby sign language on verbal cognitive development; The primary consequence of childhood deafness is that it blocks the development of spoken language both the acts of speaking and comprehending. This fact leads us to ask what spoken language contributes to the child’s cognitive development. Because deafness impedes the development of spoken language, we must ask whether complex and logical thought can develop in the absence of spoken language. Can the child develop ‘inner thought’ or working memory without the ability to hear? Consider sign language. Can sign language foster the same kinds of abstract mental development and complex thought as speech? Now consider an even more complex situation, namely, the cognitive development of children who grow up with little or no exposure to any language in any form, be it signed or spoken, as a simple consequence of being born deaf. What are the effects of such linguistic and social isolation on the child’s development of a mental life (Mayberry, 2002)?

Does it help or hinder a child’s language development; A long-standing belief is that sign language interferes with spoken language development in deaf children, despite a chronic lack of evidence supporting this belief. This deserves discussion as poor life outcomes continue to be seen in the deaf population. This commentary synthesizes research outcomes with signing and non-signing children and highlights fully accessible language as a protective factor for healthy development. Brain changes associated with language deprivation may be misrepresented as sign language interfering with spoken language outcomes of cochlear implants. This may lead to professionals and organizations advocating for preventing sign language exposure before implantation and spreading misinformation. The existence of one—time-sensitive—language acquisition window means a strong possibility of permanent brain changes when spoken language is not fully accessible to the deaf child and sign language exposure is delayed, as is often standard practice. There is no empirical evidence for the harm of sign language exposure but there is some evidence for its benefits, and there is growing evidence that lack of language access has negative implications. This includes cognitive delays, mental health difficulties, lower quality of life, higher trauma, and limited health literacy (Hall, 2017).

Has research demonstrated that it positively or negatively effects a child’s cognitive development; Research suggests that stimulating environment and strong contextual support during the first years of life has a positive impact on child development (Gabbard et al. 2012). The toddler motor behavior is shaped by a combination of environmental, organismic, physiological, and genetic factors. The primary agent for learning and developing the foundation for lifelong behaviors is the home environment (Caçola et al. 2014). In addition, while genetics play an importantrole in determining the main neural circuits, activity-dependency is also effective for optimal development of the brain. In general, it is argued that rich environments have positive effects on brain development. A window of opportunity during a specific stage development would allow toddlers to achieve critical and optimal developmental growth (Gabbard 2012). 


Anderson, S. S. (2016). The Effect of Baby Sign on Early Language Development for “At-Risk” Populations. Retrieved from St. Cloud State University: https://repository.stcloudstate.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?referer=&httpsredir=1&article=1003&context=csd_etds

Gabbard (2012). Lifelong motor development (6th ed., ). Dubuque: Brown & Benchmark.

Goodwyn, S. W., Acredolo, L. P., & Brown, C. A. (2000). Impact of Symbolic Gesturing on Early Language Development. Journal of Nonverbal Behavior, 24(2), 81. Retrieved from https://ezp.waldenulibrary.org/login?url=https://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=edb&AN=17143322&site=eds-live&scope=site

Hall, W. C. (2017). What You Don’t Know Can Hurt You: The Risk of Language Deprivation by Impairing Sign Language Development in Deaf Children. Maternal and Child Health Journal, (5), 961. https://doi-org.ezp.waldenulibrary.org/10.1007/s10995-017-2287-y

Mayberry, R. I. (2002). Cognitive development in deaf children: the interface of language and perception in neuropsychology. Retrieved from McGill University: http://idiom.ucsd.edu/~rmayberry/pubs/Mayberry-CogDev-Hndbok.pdf

Zoghi, A., Shojaei, M., & Ghasemi, A. (2016). The Impact of a Motor Affordance Intervention on Motor and Cognitive Development of Young Children. International Journal of Mental Health & Addiction, 14(5), 743–750. https://doi-org.ezp.waldenulibrary.org/10.1007/s11469-015-9616-4

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