Baby Sign Language Improves Childrens IQ Scores

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Drs. Acredolo and Goodwyn have conducted over two decades of scientific research on the use of sign language with hearing babies, including a longitudinal study funded by the National Institutes of Health. Below are the findings from that study.

More than 140 families joined the study beginning when their babies were 11 months old. Each family was assigned to a signing or non-signing group at random. The groups were equivalent at the beginning of the study in terms of: sex and birth order of the children, their tendency to speak or verbalize words, and the parents' education and income levels.
The children were assessed using standardized language measures at 11, 15, 19, 24, 30, and 36 months old. Also, as many children as could be relocated at age 8 were assessed using the WISC-III IQ test, the most commonly used measure of children's intelligence.

Results of the study showed:
24 month-old babies that used sign were on average talking more like 27 or 28 month-olds, representing more than a three-month advantage over the non-signers.
The babies who signed were also putting together significantly longer sentences.
In addition, 36 month-old signers on average were talking like 47 month-olds, making them almost a full year ahead of their average peers.
At 8 years, those who had signed as babies scored an average of 12 points higher in IQ on the WISC-III than their non-signing friends.

In addition to supporting babies learn to talk and jumpstarting their intellectual development, a number of very key social-emotional benefits were also revealed.
Acredolo and Goodwyn found that baby sign language:
' Reduces biting, frustration and other unfriendly behaviors.
' Helps parents and teachers be more observant and responsive.
' Builds trust between babies and their parents.
' Allows babies to share their worlds, showing just how smart babies really are.
' Promotes positive emotional development.
' Boosts babies' self-confidence and builds up self-esteem.

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