Resources for this week’s answer, Please use
Gleason, J. B., & Ratner, N. B. (2017). The development of language (9th ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson.
Nelson, L. H., White, K. R., & Grewe, J. (2012). Evidence for website claims about the benefits of teaching sign language to infants and toddlers with normal hearing. Infant and Child Development, 21(5), 474–502. doi:10.1002/icd.1748
Note: You will access this article from the Walden Library databases.
Pizer, G., Walters, K., & Meier, R. P. (2007). Bringing up baby with baby signs: Language ideologies and socialization in hearing families. Sign Language Studies, 7(4), 387–430. doi:10.1353/sls.2007.0026
Speech language pathologists, special educators, and related providers working with children with language delays, hearing impairments, or other variables that affect typical language development use empirically supported strategies to increase language skills and teach sign languages. These strategies may have implications for typically developing children as well. Research suggests that before a baby’s first word, his or her receptive (listening and comprehension) language skills are more developed compared to productive (speech) skills. Tomasello (2003) writes that infants use gestures before they can speak, sometimes even using a combination of word and gesture before they can express multiple-word utterances. Although infants’ cognitive development limits language production at this point, and there are also physical limitations related to vocal cord development, what if the understanding and gesturing ability they do have could be harnessed and augmented through instruction?
Some researchers who work with signed languages have explored their use with hearing infants in this in-between stage to increase infants’ ability to communicate with caregivers. There are several commercially available products of adapted sign language that parents can use to teach their infants. From a practical perspective, this application has the potential to decrease guessing what infants need or want (e.g., if a child can sign that her diaper is wet). Researchers are also interested in learning whether there are cognitive or language development benefits to children that first learn to sign.
For this Discussion, you consider the potential benefits and limitations of using sign language with hearing infants.
· Review the two websites on baby sign language in this week’s Learning Resources. Both are commercial products for parents and other caregivers to use when implementing signing with hearing infants.
· Perform research in the Walden Library and other reputable academic sources to research the effectiveness of baby signing as well as its effects on verbal language and cognitive development.
With these thoughts in mind:
By Day 4
Post an argument either for or against the use of “baby signs” with infants. Justify your argument by providing evidence from the literature about the effects of baby sign language on verbal language development and cognitive development. Does it help or hinder a child’s language development? Has research demonstrated that it positively or negatively effects a child’s cognitive development?
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