Gestures can improve early speech development, scientists find

tinytalk-rain.jpgUsing signs and gestures with babies can enhance their communication skills and allow them to learn to talk more quickly, according to research by scientists at the University of Chicago.

The research confirms previous studies that show a strong link between gestures and spoken language, finding that babies who use gestures to communicate, at an early age, have large spoken vocabularies compared to their non-gesturing peers by the time they reach school age.

“Babies have so much to say- even before they can talk. Babies who sign, usually learn to speak much more quickly and more clearly than babies who don’t,” said Katie Mayne, founder of TinyTalk, an ex-primary school teacher and a mother of two. “Signs are like ‘pictures’ for babies, helping them to understand what is being said to them. The signs also help the children to express themselves much earlier too. Their communication attempts promote growing self-confidence and self-esteem which, in turn, leads to further communication! Importantly, through signing, children also make early attempts at speech.”

TinyTalk offers baby signing classes right across the UK and Ireland and is seeing a significant increase in demand. More and more families are seeking to experience the benefits of early communication with their little ones. Mayne explains, “Contrary to popular belief, sign language encourages spoken language rather than hindering it. Even tantrums are reduced! Signing babies are happy babies, able to understand and be understood, and happy babies mean happy carers! Families who attend our classes tell us that their babies and toddlers are little chatterboxes, full of things to say!”