By in large, this chapter is superfluous. I’ve only included it here because you might have turned to sign language because you have already experienced some form of speech delay. For nine out of ten children language progresses normally with no concerns whatsoever. Therefore, being delayed verbally is statistically rare, which gives me full confidence in saying that your baby is probably just fine and dandy, and is going full steam ahead at their own pace.
In other words, you have nothing to worry about. If you have been signing up until now, but feel deep down that your little guy might be having difficulty moving to the next level in language, then read on. Conversely, if you are just interested in milestones and reading about general development, you will find the following information helpful. This chapter will help you compare your guy to the “average” baby. By the way, an average is just the sum of all the parts divided by the total number (obviously). This makes the average baby totally fictitious – he doesn’t even exist! What milestones do help with though, is in gauging relative progression, and can provide hunches that might indicate a need for further examination. By reading on, you’ll see that milestones are so varied from child to child, that it’s often very difficult to assess a child anyway. In other words, worrying about issues that aren’t quantifiable is a fool’s game, so until you have a professional diagnosis, rest assured that your baby is doing just fine.
Before moving on, I will say that you have done a good thing in teaching your baby to sign, for it is this skill that will move them forward even if they do experience some language delays. Research has shown that children with ADHD or attention deficit hyperactivity disorders, babies suffering from autism or Down Syndrome, and those with cerebral palsy, which makes muscles difficult to control, deal much better with their symptoms for having done so.
Above: Going over some signs as lunch time. BIG DEER!