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March 2007

A hot trend in parenting is signing with (hearing) babies, and teaching them simple signs. Becauses babies can sign before they can effectively enunciate words, this has become a popular, scientifically-validated approach. There's been a boomlet in baby-signing books, DVDs, multimedia kits, and classes. Parents and children both appreciate the immediate benefits of enhanced communication. But this trend co-exists with a more ominous one: the increased enrollment of young deaf children (most with cochlear implants) into Auditory-Verbal or similar programs that prohibit signing. So while hearing parents are being encouraged to sign with their hearing babies, the audiological lobby is urging those with deaf babies not to sign with them at all. What ironic times we live in!

Photo: Drs. Linda Acredolo and Susan Goodwyn/Baby Signs


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