No doubt you've heard that term a thousand times or more but now there's a new meaning to baby talk that's far from baby babble. It's a means of communicating with your baby before he or she can talk and really understanding what he or she means.
'Baby Talk' Takes On A Whole New Meaning
August 8, 2005
By Brian Calvert
SEATTLE - Your baby begins to cry, and try as you may, you can't seem to figure out what he's trying to tell you. Now, many local parents can communicate with their little ones, It just takes a little work with their hands.
Chuck Gomes would love to know what his young daughter, Amelia is trying to tell him. But she's just over a year old, and can't speak. "As a first time parent, it's really frustrating not to know," Gomes told KOMO News.
The answer may lie in sign language.
"What I had read was that kids who go through sign language have a better comprehension level and reading level," Gomes says.
At Gracewinds Perinatal Services in Ballard, instructor Laura Tiberio teaches parents and their babies to sign. She says researchers watched hearing impaired families closely for years. "They noticed that those babies would communicate with sign language at about eight months old," Tiberio says of the research.
In the past decade, the technique has caught on with families who can hear just fine. These are families who just want to know what their baby is thinking.
"The language development centers of the brain are active and kids understand, and they know what they want," Tiberio says.
So what can you teach your 1-year-old to say through signing?
"Milk, they want more food, they can say 'more,'" Tiberio says. "If they need to have their dirty diaper changed, they can sign 'change.'"
But could using sign language become a "crutch" and delay normal speech development? Tiberio says no, and that it's worked for several kids, including her own.
However, there are still those who believe that some children rely heavily on the signs into three and four years of age, and that it can delay speech or lead to other speech issues.
Regardless, young mom Jenny McGovern remains eager to communicate with little Lucy. The word she really wants her daughter to learn?
"Bed," McGovern says with a laugh. "She's reaching a stage where she knows when she's tired, but we need to move that along a little bit. We've already introduced the food signs, and now we're ready for 'sleep.'"
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This article was reprinted with permission from "KOMO 1000 News in Seattle."