Navigation

Baby sign language for blind babies

Some babies are born with blindness or with severe vision impairment. This can be due to many reasons, including anomalies in eye development or even injury to the eye structure.
So many of these reasons are unknown or totally beyond the control of medical science. The common diagnosis today are premature birth, bleeding in the brain, congenital cataracts, metabolic or genetic disease, problems of the central nervous system and infection of the mother with STI’s during pregnancy.
A baby without sight doesn’t have to lose out on early development. The child can still have great bonding and communication experiences with parents and members of family.
Two questions then arise:
Can you teach sign language to a visually-impaired baby?
Is sign language beneficial to a child who is not hearing-impaired?
It might seem impossible but the answer is a resounding yes, babies without the sense of sight can learn sign language and it doesn’t stop them from speaking.
Benefits of sign language for babies
Granted that babies without sight can also listen to the voices of adults around them and eventually pick up words, sign language still has great benefits for them.
Visually-impaired babies usually have a hard time identifying body parts since they cannot see them. Teaching them sign language helps to increase identification and awareness of their bodies.
Due to brain patterns, some visually-impaired children have speech delays as they grow up. Sign language is an effective way of preventing speech delays.
Our motor skills have a direct relationship with our hand-eye coordination. This is usually a problem for people without sight as the “eye” part of the coordination is compromised. Sign language can improve finger dexterity and avoid motor delays.
Sign language is essential in teaching visually-impaired children that body language is an important part of communication. This makes it easier to explain to children who are totally blind that others can see them.
How to teach blind babies sign language
Sign for them
In the beginning, you will have to make the signs for your baby. Reach across and gently help them make the sign with their hands and on their body.
Go slow
Introduce one sign at a time and be consistent. Also understand that introducing many words at the same time can become overwhelming for your baby.
Start with powerful items
Use motivational words or words that evoke emotions like “diaper”, “food”, and “hug” or “more”. Hold off on pleasantries for the moment.
Never sign in silence
Even when making the sign for your baby, you should vocalise the word you’re signing. This will place emphasis on the word in your child’s memory since the child can hear.
Reward your child
Praise your baby by tickling or rubbing the head when they successfully make a sign and don’t forget to add verbal praise as well.
Final Thought
Finally, you should know up front that your child might adapt or change the signs slightly. Therefore, there is no harm in treating a sign approximation as a success. Your child can only get better with time. Good luck teaching your baby sign language!