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Would teaching simple sign language signs to a speech-delayed toddler further delay the speech problem?

My 21 month old is not able to speak many words beyond mommy and daddy. She can say "ba" for ball, and "dah" for dog..."dat" for that, "ba" for bath and "buba" for bubble.

She is getting frustrated because she can't tell me certain things.

I am thinking of teaching her how to sign the following words/phrases:

all done
thank you

Do you think that by teaching her sign language, she will not want to talk, because it's easier to just sign?


Asked by Anonymous at 8:54 PM on Mar. 26, 2010 in General Parenting

This question is closed.
Answers (22)
  • it is suppose to help. here they have a program for toddlers who have speech delays (although your 21 mo old doesn't sound TOO cousin's little boy doesn't say a lot either). they have a speech therapist come in and work with them on basic signs. signs for
    all done
    etc. I don't remember them all. I have seen it at a daycare i used to work at....a couple of the boys were 2 or 2.5 and had speech issues. so they worked with them. they worked on actually speaking and signing.

    my point is that i think it would help. it will help your child to feel more confident and happy to be able to communicate with you. you may look into programs offered in you area. here its called First Steps....I believe.

    Answer by aly38914290 at 9:04 PM on Mar. 26, 2010

  • My son is speech delayed. His speech tharepist told us to use signs with him. It gives him a way to communicate without being so frustrated. It should not further delay speech, and should actually help. GL!

    Answer by Anonymous at 8:57 PM on Mar. 26, 2010

  • teaching her signs won't further delay! especially if you give her positive reinforcement for using the signs correctly. Like if she signs for "more" over emphasize "good you want MORE milk?" then give her more milk right away. If she doesnt sign for more, don't give in right away until she shows you some kind of communication. my son doesnt always sign for "more" but if he lets me know another way other than grunting or taking my hand to the kitchen I give him what he wants.

    Answer by Owl_Feather at 8:57 PM on Mar. 26, 2010

  • My ds has a speech delayment and he'll be 3 in May. He has been working with a speech teacher and development teacher that come to our house and they decided it would benefit him to go to a special educational preschool. It'll be 2 months April 2nd. DS has come aways with starting the preschool but dh and I know ds still has a ways to go with his speech. Junior could say words before going to school but since starting he's been more expressive and more talkative. I think too that it helps that ds is in daycare and preschool now.

    Answer by jilligan362 at 8:58 PM on Mar. 26, 2010

  • not at all :) my son has autism. we had to teach him sign language. as soon as he was able to connect the signs with their meanings, his vocabulary took off like a rocket! we started with "more" "me" "all done" and "play" he learned the signs quickly, but after a few months, there was no need for them.

    Answer by bestmommyeber at 8:59 PM on Mar. 26, 2010

  • when teaching her the sign, if you know she wants "more milk", over emphasize the sign language so she can eventually associate that sign with getting "more". One problem with my son though is he thinks "more" means milk since he always wants "more" milk, I try using "more" for when he wants more of something else....we're getting there lol

    Answer by Owl_Feather at 9:00 PM on Mar. 26, 2010

  • The first thing they do in therapy is teach the signs.

    Answer by BlooBird at 9:02 PM on Mar. 26, 2010

  • Our son started speech therapy at 21 months and they did use sign language for simple words. We started with "more", "all done" and "play". We always SAY the words as we sign, and his gruntings matched with a sign made for mutual communication and less frustration for him & us all. Eventually, he was saying the words a lot better, and now at 3 y/o can talk much better. The Baby Einstein-First Signs video actually helped my son a lot. He learned about 20 words including, mommy, daddy, baby, eat, milk, drink, cereal, play, friend, sleep, blanket, bath, more, all done, and some more that I'm not remembering. He actually wanted to watch the dvd more after he started speech therapy. I think it will help you, not delay speech. Once your child sees that they CAN be understood, they will seek to be understood more. Good luck!

    Answer by doodlebopfan at 9:06 PM on Mar. 26, 2010

  • I've found sign language to be very beneficial with my dd. We started around mos and she was signing at a year. She didn't really say anything besides "mama" "dada" and "baba" for ball until she turned 19 mos! Then, she spoke the words she signed and when we learned a new sign she would learn that word after one or two times signing it. She's two now and signing has become a habit with some words. When signing, we say the word and sign but stop the sign when we use another word with it or move to the second sign so for "more milk" there is two different signs.
    The words we found useful until she used her words were:
    all done
    potty (toilet)
    drink (cup)

    Answer by 07lilmama1108 at 9:07 PM on Mar. 26, 2010

  • There was a child in my daycare class that never talked...I started using signs as I said the words. He never signed back, but, talked instead. LOL So, I say go for it.

    Answer by BradenIsMySon at 9:11 PM on Mar. 26, 2010