No! Absolutely not. In fact, sign language has been shown over and over again to help baby’s learn to talk rather than the other way around. Studies show that baby’s vocabularies can be as much as a year ahead at age two compared to non-singers. They also have higher IQ’s, talk sooner, have fewer temper tantrums and on and on. There’s no reason not to sign to your baby!
It’s such a misguided view that see signing as a something that can actually delay a developmental milestone. Both signing and verbal communication are innate abilities. How many adults do you know who don’t sign? Confused? Well, why don’t you go *over there* in the corner and think about it! How big was that fish you caught, again? Was it *this big*? Get my point? We use gestures in speech all the time – it’s called gesticulation and chances are good that they are part of our way of talking because throughout our history, we used them in lieu of speaking. Scientists believe that our early communication included grunting, pointing and emotional cries. Makes sense right, just watch as a baby progresses into toddlerhood. Do they not cry out emotionally, whine, grunt and point? They sure do, as do plenty of adults I know! The point is that signing is a developmental bridge, that every baby goes through with or without instructions. They’ll still point, reach, motion, and eventually gesticulate like the rest of us, it’s just that signing babies get a more directed approach to signing that is used by their parents to express concrete thoughts, feelings, interests and desires. Crawling isn’t going to stop your baby from walking and neither will signing stop your baby from talking, so enjoy!