A Therapists Guide to Fix the Developmental Delay of Baby Milestones

Not long ago I wrote an article on the benefits of sign language for non-verbal children and for toddlers with delayed speech. Good communication is essential for everyone. It really doesn’t matter if you are a baby or if you are elderly. There are always situations where you need someone else to do something for you. If that person doesn’t understand what you want, it is frustrating. In the case of young children and toddlers, frustration is often expressed via tantrums and bad behavior.

According to baby development timelines, talking begins to emerge by the first birthday. By eighteen months, a toddler should have a vocabulary of about 18 words.

 Although many perfectly healthy children do not start talking until they are two, it is important to recognize the cognitive significance of speech. It signals the child’s ability to process thoughts and express them. When the expressive component is not available, the child needs another form of self expression. Sign language fulfills that need and gives the child the opportunity to continue to develop appropriately. Remember that many skills develop concurrently and are inter-dependent. For example, in a previous post I spoke about the relationship between the development of cause and effect and the development of motor skills. Moving and exploring the environment helps facilitate the emergence of cause and effect. Speech helps with social, emotional and behavioral development.

When toddlers do not develop speech, sign language allows them to speak with their hands. There is an iPad and iPhone app called iSpeech Toddler Sign Language.

 According to the literature, the iSpeech Toddler Sign Language iPhone application will teach educators, parents and children fundamental words that can be signed using sign language techniques. The module was created with the assistance of a Certified Speech and Language Pathologist who specializes in Early Intervention Programs for children with special needs.

The app provides both a written description of the sign and a cute animation. It also speaks the sign as the animation plays. I downloaded a few other sign language apps, and didn’t like them as much. Either I didn’t like the animations or they didn’t provide a written description. In iSpeech Toddler Sign, the animated figure is either a young girl or boy. They are cute and smiling and appealing. Also, the animation is slow enough that you have time to process the movement. In other apps, the action happens so fast that you can miss important details. The written description is well explained and precise. The speaking voice is very clear. The app is simple and easy to use. There are two volumes shown on the main page. Each volume has a list of alphabetical terms which are relevant to daily life of a toddler or young child. When you tap on a chosen word or term, the page transitions to the picture of the child with the written description. There is a “play animation” prompt directly under the written description.young girl using sign language

My son happened to be one of those “late talkers”. His receptive speech was fine, but he didn’t say a word until he was two. I started teaching him simple signs such as “give me”, “eat”, “drink” and his very favorite “more”. It made a big difference in his behavior once he was able to indicate his needs. Until he was able to sign, he got very frustrated. If ToddlerSign had been around when my son was learning to sign, I definitely would have used this app.

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