The effects of baby sign on child development

Joanna Marie Scott, University of Texas at El Paso


Introduction: Although the popular media supports the use of baby sign for enhanced developmental outcomes of children, empirical research verifying the actual effects of baby sign on the areas of communicative, cognitive, social, and physical development, is limited. Advocates of baby sign suggest pre-lingual symbolic communication may result in accelerated development whereas critics claim definitive conclusions cannot be drawn because of flawed methodology in the research. Purpose: The purpose of the present study was to explore whether baby sign has an impact on the developmental growth of children. Methods: Using a between groups research design, assessment data were obtained from 40 children between the ages of 5 months and 4 years from three daycare centers in El Paso, Texas. Two conditions were used: a nonintervention control condition and an experimental baby sign trained condition in which day care providers used baby sign with the children. A paired t-test was used to analyze the data. Results: Results indicate baby sign training had a significant impact on gains made from pre to post test in the areas of cognitive, adaptive behavior, and social-emotional development in the children in the experimental group.

Subject Area

Speech therapy

Recommended Citation

Scott, Joanna Marie, "The effects of baby sign on child development" (2015). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI1591995.