Baby Sign Language class helps parents communicate with infants | SkyHiNews.com

Baby Sign Language class helps parents communicate with infants

Ariadyn Hansen
Sky-Hi Daily News
Grand County, Colorado

Byron Hetzler/Sky-Hi Daily News

At the Kremmling library on Wednesday mornings, you can find Laura Dilts teaching baby sign language to moms, toddlers, and infants.

“I teach four to five signs a week,” Dilts said, “including letters from the alphabet, actions, animals, and family signs.”

Baby sign language is a method in which an infant or toddler uses specific hand shapes and motions to convey words and meaning.

This is done by using American Sign Language.

Dilts has been teaching the sign language program since September and said she usually has around 10 babies and their moms attend her class.

“More people come when there is nice weather because we usually go outside,” Dilts said. “There is a lot of play time, as well as learning time for the kids.”

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Jeanie Baird and her son Oden have been coming to the baby sign language class for over two years. They started coming when Oden was barely three months old.

“I started signing with Oden at birth,” Baird said, “and I heard about the baby sign language program at the Kremmling library through a friend.”

This past Wednesday, Oden was laughing and smiling while learning signs such as fireworks, picnic and flag.

Dilts said she tries to use signs that have to do with holidays coming up.

Along with the new signs, Oden has learned several of his favorite things.

“My favorite food is cheese,” Oden said while doing the ASL sign for cheese.

Having been practicing signs with his mom for over two years, Oden has learned a variety of signs, including family signs.

During the class he was showing his mom how to sign mom, dad and aunt.

Researchers have found 2-year-old baby signers have larger vocabularies than their non-signing peers.

Dilts said sign language has been a part of her life for a long time.

“It’s nice to research and find signs for them to learn,” Dilts said. “I know the simple stuff from grade school.”

Dilts said she went to a grade school where sign language was incorporated with learning because there was such a high deaf population.

She said she has enjoyed keeping up with it ever since then.

A research study done by Dr. Claire Vallotton at Harvard showed that signing in the classroom reduces frustration and aggression, allows infants and toddlers to express several emotions, and helps teachers be more responsive to children.

The Mom’s and Tot’s baby sign program at the Kremmling Library is held every Wednesday at 10:30 a.m., 2 1/2 and under are welcome.

– Ariadyn can be reached at 970 887-3334 ext 19605 or by e-mail at ahansen@skyhidailynews.com

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