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The first time I encountered infant sign language was with my 10 month old niece. We were sitting in the kitchen while her mom was feeding her some sweet yogurt. The yogurt finished and she was not at all happy with this. Simultaneously, she cried out and started making this strange sign with her hands. “More?” my sister asked? My niece smiled and kept making the signs as my sister popped open another yogurt.
Introduction to infant sign language is an important and fun educational tool for infant specialized au pairs to share with their host families. At Aupair Care Academy, au pairs receive instruction on American Sign Language (ASL) basic principles and its application for infants from certified facilitators. Many families are already using sign language with their infants as yet another way to connect and communicate with their young children. So, they are excited to welcome an au pair with this knowledge and practice.
I had the opportunity to work with Lora Heller, Founding Director of Baby Fingers™LLC for my introduction to infant sign certification. According to her and other expert research, a few of the advantages of infant sign language are:
-Increased self-esteem and confidence
-Motivates infants to speak
An article, “Why Teach Sign Language?” on Parents.com also stated “Parents are beginning to realize that children’s proficiency in using their hands comes well before using the more intricate muscles of their tongue and vocal cords. And both parents and experts agree that signing with your baby can relieve his frustration at not being able to communicate with you (and your frustration at not being able to understand him).”
Your infant specialized au pair will be eager to share what she has learned with your baby. Talk with her and create a plan for using these tools with you and your baby.