Babies Learn to Sign the Same Way They Learn to Speak

Babies learn sign language in much the same way they learn spoken language. A child will often understand the meaning of a sign before he can make the sign himself.

Just as a baby that’s beginning to talk will make the same sound for similar sounding words (“wa” for both “water” and “walk”), babies learning sign language may make the same sign for words that are signed similarly.

When you understand the similarities between learning sign language and learning spoken language, the process will go more smoothly for you.

Key takeaways:

  • Acquiring sign language skills has a pattern very similar to that of acquiring spoken language skills.
  • Babies will learn to recognize signs before you should expect them to start using them on their own.
  • When the child starts signing on their own, they may use one sign for several meanings at first or may use incorrect signs. This is a normal part of your baby learning to sign.


“Expect your child to recognize a sign that you are making well before he starts using it on his own.”

Signing With Your Baby

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