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Baby signing makes intentions clear

TAO LIN
Last updated 05:00 07/05/2014
Baby signs
Tao Lin

BABY TALK: From left, Jenny Smith, Phebe Rossiter, Adela Aguilera, Stacey Connolly, and Lauren Keen learn with their bubs the basics of signing at a free introductory baby sign language class taught by certified instructor Jennifer Ives, right.

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Trying to understand a child before it can talk is a source of frustration for parents.

One Papakura woman hopes to help by teaching babies to communicate before they learn how to talk.

Jennifer Ives teaches baby sign language to children aged from birth up until they start to speak.

Her classes are part of the Baby Signs programme, which has been used around the world for more than 25 years.

The programme was created by American researchers Dr Linda Acredolo and Dr Susan Goodwyn, who performed 20 years of academic research on the use of signs with hearing babies.

The benefits they discovered include strengthened bonds between babies and parents, positive emotional development, and better self-confidence.

It also helps children with language development.

"It means people are talking to their babies more. Everything you sign to your baby you're also saying and you're talking to them a lot because you want them to sign back to you," Ives says.

Both of Ives' young daughters sign and she says the benefits became evident when her older child started talking.

"She started talking quite quickly. She had a huge vocabulary and it gave her so much more confidence," she says.

Ives runs a six-week programme and can start a course at any time depending on numbers and location.

She also runs parents workshops as an introduction to the Baby Signs programme.

Go to facebook.com/BabySignsNZ or email jennifer@babysigns.co.nz for more information.

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- Papakura Courier

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