All signing parents have heard this question at least once. If you haven’t yet, just wait! I haven’t heard it for awhile, but when we were first teaching our son to sign, I was confronted with it on several occasions. Instead of being annoyed with the question, I took the opportunity to educate my friends and family members about signing with a hearing baby.
I would tell them that signing actually encourages early speech since parents who sign with their babies tend to talk to them more as they sign. Signing babies also understand at an early age that everything in their environments, as well as their feelings, have labels. Studies have shown that babies who sign have larger vocabularies when they begin to speak – and even higher IQs.
All these benefits are wonderful reasons to sign with your baby, but you might not feel like sharing them all each time you’re asked about delayed speech. Should you want to get your point across in as concise a manner as possible, simply respond with:
“If your baby learns to crawl, aren’t you worried she won’t learn to walk on time?”