When your baby first starts to sign there are many things that hold him or her back. First, signing requires muscular coordination. Second, signing requires a cognitive capacity and finally, signing requires sufficient long term memory. Without all of these factors, your baby wont be able to sign.
When you first start teaching baby sign, your baby might be lacking in any one of these areas. What’s holding them back might also not be entirely obvious. However, none of this is really all that important anyway. What is important to keep in mind is that your baby will start signing back just as soon as he is ready and this is regardless of whatever program or techniques you employ. Once your baby has worked up the ability to control their bodies with some degree of specificity, can connect a word and it’s result and is able to store this in their mind for use, they’ll sign back.
Lastly, it should be mentioned that signing requires motivation. Not all children are born chatty and so might not have as great an innate drive to communicate. A baby who’s needs are met too quickly by parents will also lack the necessity to sign. As you can see there are many different variables when it comes to signing. In the end, it’s important not to rush or force things because it might just sour the experience for your baby and wear you out along the way putting you both off signing. Start off slowly and build as you go. You’ll find that signs are added more and more readily as time passes. Eventually, you’ll be able to add signs in what seems like an instant. This is the baby signing explosion and marks a wonderful benchmark in your signing life!