Sunday, September 12, 2010

Can signing replace language in the cognitive development of younger children?

I'm currently reading The Teacher's Guide to Diversity and I ran across the following quote in the first section on page 9:

In many ways language is the key to critical aspects of cognitive change. The dramatic transformations in children’s thinking between the ages of 3 and 5 years are a function of the new potentials that language makes possible both cognitively and communicatively. The child can begin to understand another’s point of view as represented in the other’s expression of her understanding, and can supplement her own experientially based system of knowledge with knowledge gained indirectly from presentations of others (p. 112).

I recently attended a conference with some teachers from a school for deaf children. They expressed a concern that more children that are able to hear are taught to sign from birth than is the case for deaf children. If lots of babies are now taught to sign so young, I couldn't help but wonder...

  1. Is there any research on this in relation to babies taught to sign?
  2. Can signing replace language in this way and cause these effects at younger ages?
  3. Of course, even if they can, would this be something measurable before a child has spoken language?
I'm interested to hear if anyone knows anything about this or can point my curious mind in any new directions. Thanks for any comments!

No comments:

Post a Comment