A British study has found that mothers who communicate with their infants by sign language aren't necessarily accelerating the child's language development.
Researchers at the University of Hertfordshire followed 40 infants from 8 months to 20 months of age, monitoring their interactions with their mothers, and tracking their development. For the study, half the mothers were trained to model a specific set of gestures to their children; half were not.
The study team found that, although the babies learned the gestures and used them to communicate long before they started talking, they did not learn the associated words any more quickly than the nongesturing babies did. The study was published this month in the journal Child Development.
Vol. 32, Issue 08, Page 5Published in Print: October 17, 2012, as Language Development