We've been using baby sign language with Elijah for about five months. We are using a method based on Auslan, so technically learning it will make us bilingual. Using baby sign language helps with language development and prevents frustration of the child, as it is easier to sign something than coordinate all of the muscles of the mouth to say it. According to our book, research has proved that a child's comprehension of language develops faster than the ability to speak the language. Unfortunately, we've not been terribly consistent with it or used as many words as we possibly could have, so the benefits have not been apparent. Until today.
At lunch time today, I realised that Elijah's frantic arm waving was his attempt at signing "drink". I had been getting it confused with his waving goodbye, since it's a similar movement, and couldn't understand why he was waving to me during meals. He's been doing this for over a week! I could see the relief on his face when I signed "drink" back to him and gave him his sipper cup of water.
I knew his comprehension was very good, as he's been starting to follow simple directions (when he wants to!) but now I have proof that all my signing of "eat" and "drink" at mealtimes has not been in vain. I've now got a renewed vigour for utilising the language and we will be adding more words to our repertoire.
Hopefully soon, he will be able to tell me that his nappy needs changing or that he hurts and where and the days of crying to communicate will be behind us.