6 ASL Signs to Help Your Baby Communicate

Speech Sisters
June 28, 2022

Baby sign language—there’s so much to love about it! And the myths about baby sign language? Let’s just put them to rest. Some wonder if baby sign language delays speech, and to this question we give a resounding NO! In fact, teaching our babies and toddlers to sign helps them to communicate even before they start to speak! According to an ASL interpreter from Sign ’n Grow, parents who start teaching their baby sign language at approximately 6 months old usually see them signing back between 9-12 months old.

The key is to say the words as you’re signing. This way your baby will hear the words while watching your lips as you say them.

Before you know it, your baby will begin to sign, then say the word, and eventually drop the sign and simply say the word. And all the while, your baby has found a way to communicate with you early! And did you know that using baby sign language can enhance your baby’s cognitive development? Signs are part of your baby’s word count. When a sign is used intentionally, independently, and consistently, it’s considered a word in your child’s vocabulary. Sign language is for everyone, not just for deaf or nonverbal children. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends sign language for all children to improve early communication.1 No more guessing what your baby wants or needs! No more wondering why your baby is upset. Baby sign language is a great tool for building rich communication with your little one.

To get started with baby sign language, head over to our @speechsisters and @signngrow Instagram pages—we’re happy to help!

We love to start with these 6 ASL Signs:

  1. All done
  2. More
  3. Eat
  4. Milk
  5. Open
  6. Help

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Watch the reel here. You’ll find these signs to be most helpful early on. Signs can help your little one get their needs and wants met and may also help reduce communication frustrations!

According to Sign ’n Grow, baby sign language has many advantages, and here are just a few:

  • eases frustration
  • promotes early language development
  • enhances vocabulary
  • reduces temper tantrums
  • encourages parent-child bonding

The early stages of communicating with your baby can be frustrating for both of you!  What does your baby want? What does she need? As you encourage her to use signs, you’ll both feel relieved that the message is clear and easily understood.

Studies have shown that babies whose parents use baby sign language not only speak earlier, but they often have an advanced vocabulary and acquire language at an accelerated pace.

Perhaps even more importantly, implementing baby sign language has been shown to reduce temper tantrums, resulting in happier babies. And when baby is happy...There’s nothing more satisfying than knowing what your baby needs and meeting those needs, relieving stress and building confidence. We love to help you build a trusting relationship with your precious little one as you establish a strong parent-child bond early-on.

Sign 'n Grow and Speech Sisters have created this reel to show you simple signs for early communication. If you want to learn full American Sign Language, we recommend finding classes & resources that are taught by Deaf educators. For more info, please see the ASL Resources from Sign 'n Grow.

To learn simple and effective strategies to help get your little one talking, check out our Talk on Track (newborn-14 months) and Time to Talk: Toddler Course (15-36 months). We’d love to equip you to experience the joy of your little one talking to you!

(1) Jana, Laura A., and Jennifer Shu. Heading Home with Your Newborn: From Birth to Reality. Itasca, IL: American Academy of Pediatrics, 2020.

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