We just returned home from a weekend visit with Chris’ sister and her family. She has two little boys – one turned two a few months ago and the other is 11 months. While her oldest son is saying some words, much of it is still only understandable to mom and dad. They had already taught him the signs for MORE and ALL DONE and he would use them when prompted. I think because he didn’t learn them before he could speak, he performed them more than he actually used them to communicate.
Our first day there, he was given an apple for a snack and Chris showed him how to do the sign. Although he could say the word, he was eager to show his uncle that he could also repeat the sign! For the rest of the weekend, instead of asking for some apple, he would say “Uncle Chris APPLE” as he signed. He also learned the sign for DIAPER when we were there and easily recalled it when asked.
We say that it’s never too late to start signing with your baby. Although our nephew can say many of the words we teach signs for, there are others that he can’t. Some of these might be very useful still to help him tell his parents when he’s FRUSTRATED, for example. And because he was so keen to learn the signs, he would be a great model for his little brother who is not yet speaking but always watching everything he does!