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Teaching Sign Language to Young Children


Sign Language used with young children has been proven time and time again to assist with the development of verbal vocal communication, reduction of negative behaviors (usually caused by difficulty with expressive language skills) and shared bonding experiences.

FIRST SIGNS - click here


Louise Sattler offers multiple workshops to discuss the benefits of sign language for young children. Workshops include developmental and behavioral strategies to help increase positive behaviors and reduce the negative.

Also available are workshops to address individuals with exceptional needs, including how sign language benefits children and adults with cognitive delays, Autism, and other developmental disorders.


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Learn more about our award winning BABY, TODDLER and PRESCHOOL SIGN LANGUAGE DVD here and how to order: CLICK HERE

When should I start baby signs in my home?

Ideally, baby signing could begin when the child is a newborn. However, many professionals advise actively signing to your baby beginning at six months. Baby signing does not mean that you sign every word you say. You need only sign key words- verbs, nouns, adjectives and adverbs. For example, if you want your child to attend to an airplane in the sky you can sign- LOOK AIRPLANE (then point to the sky.)

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Will teaching my baby sign language prevent my child from speaking?

No! In fact research has proven that teaching young babies and toddlers sign language skills helps to promote all language skills (spoken and signed!) Children have a great propensity for being multi-lingual. There are many good web sites that explain the various research conducted on babies and sign language. Feel free to visit the link section of our web site to direct you to more information.

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Is Baby Sign Language and American Sign Language the same?

No again! There exists an important difference between American Sign Language and baby sign language. American Sign Language ( ASL) is a language that has its’ own vocabulary, grammatical system and cultural/historical background. ASL is sometimes used in conjunction with voice which is a total communication method. ASL also involves the usage of numbers, idioms, and a manual alphabet to spell words or use abbreviations, etc. ASL is a language in its’ own right. ASL is used in the United States and parts of Canada. Other countries, such as England or Mexico, use their own sign language system that is different in many ways to ASL.

Baby sign language is used to augment speech development in hearing children. If a baby is born deaf to hearing or deaf parents then this professional would recommend highly the use of ASL in the family and not just baby signing.

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Who should learn baby sign language?

Anyone who has a regular contact with your child should learn baby signs. If there are two parents in the home then both parents should learn. If the child spends a considerable amount of time with a caregiver or grandparent then it would be recommended for them to learn as well. Our DVD is available to purchase separately for people interested in sharing baby sign with their caregivers. We also are able to teach families and caregivers at separate times.

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When should my baby start to sign back to me?

Development of sign language often occurs prior to the first spoken word. If sign language has been used on a daily basis since 6-8 months then you may see your baby sign at about 10 months( sometimes earlier). Keep in mind that all children reach developmental milestones at their own pace, thus, first signs ( like first words and first steps) will vary from child to child.

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In our home we are bi-lingual. Will introducing a third language, signs, confuse our baby?

No! We have had several families who spoke two languages in their home and were very successful with using baby signs as well. Again, children have a great capacity to learn languages!

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When should we stop using sign language?

The answer to this question varies from family to family. In the Sattler household signing is still used to communicate across a crowded room without shouting! Parents often use sign language as a way to communicate to their children in situations when speaking is not appropriate- such as during a school concert or in a church.

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This may seem silly… but, may I teach my dog sign language too?

Yes! Dogs respond to hand commands and teaching them a few signs is easy and fun. We recommend that you start with SIT, STAY and WAIT! However, don’t expect your dogs to sign back to you! ( If they do, please send us the video or photo!!)

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