The sequence of signing in babies

The following is a sequential progression that signing undertakes as a baby fully grasps the concept of signing. Watch for this evolution as you introduce signs to your baby and carry it forward into their development.

Copying: Not really understanding the ramifications of a sign. Rather baby just imitates the sign with no real idea about what it means. For example, a baby might copy the MORE sign early on, sometimes even by accident in a copy-cat type fashion. If a parent is keen, they will pick up on this, reward the child with an enthusiastic response, and provide them with more treats, food or drink.

Associating: Happens when a baby recognizes something that is present and identifies it accurately. For example, a baby signs MOM or DAD as they enter the room.

Requesting: Using the sign to ask for something that baby wants when it’s not present. For example, asking for MILK when thirsty, or asking for MOM when she is out of the room and so forth.


Above: The thumb of the dominant hand is brought in toward the chin several times with the remaining fingers outstretched in the ASL sign for MOMMY.

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