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How to Promote Speech & Language with Your Baby with Sign Language

While infants may be unable to communicate with words, sign language can be taught and used to help your infant to communicate their wants and needs. The use of simple sign language can make communicating with your child less stressful. It is important to start with signs that will be used frequently and are meaningful to your child. Begin with a few signs and then you can gradually add more signs as your infant is learning. But, where do you start?

Signing and Language

Because an infant’s hand muscles are developed earlier than the muscles to speak, sign language will give your child a way to communicate before they are able to talk to you. The use of sign language will not prevent your child from using words when they are able to, it will actually promote communication.
Sign language can be introduced to the child around 6-9 months in age. This is when you will be using the signs in conjunction with the words in your everyday setting. The infant will learn from being exposed to the signs visually and within the context of a conversation. For example, when you give the infant milk, use the sign milk, and so on. Make sure to be consistent and sign before, during, or after an activity. Around 7-12 months, the infant may begin to sign back to you. Keep signing until your infant signs back to you, and then you can introduce another signs. Continue to use all of the signs your infant has learned as you are teaching new signs.  Once the child begins to use words between the ages of 1 to 2 years, they may combine signs and words while communicating with you. This timeline is not concrete as every infant develops at their own rate.

Beneficial Signs

Here are some signs that will be beneficial to most families and can be learned fairly quickly.


This sign is made by opening and closing your hand like you are milking a cow.



To make this sign, pretend you are holding food between your thumb and fingers and then move your hand like you are putting food in your mouth.



To sign “more” you will take both hands and again place your thumb to your fingers like you are holding something. Then you will tap your fingertips together.


All Done

This sign is made by holding your hands open in front of you and twisting the hands back and forth at the wrists. The motion should begin with your palms facing you and then your hands turn out so that the palms are facing away from you.


You can make this sign but having an open hand and then tapping your thumb to your chin.



This sign is very similar to “Mom”, but this time tap your thumb to your forehead (make sure to still have an open hand).



To make this sign, make a “three” with your hand (hold pinky down with thumb) and tap your index finger to your chin twice.



To sign “family” make “OK” signs with both hands (this represents the letter “f” in American Sign Language). Then you will make a circle with your hands meeting together and palms facing you.



This sign is very simple. Just pretend that you are holding an invisible ball in your hand.



This is sign is made when you take both palms and press them together and then hold your hands near the side of your head. Tilt your head to the side, as if you going to sleep.


Things to remember…


  • -Be consistent!
  • -Remember to understand that your infant is developing (their signs will not be perfect the first few times).
  • -Be excited and expressive when using sign language with your child so that they are more interested in using it.

Information about American Sign Language and tips can be found online! Good luck and happy signing!

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Crystal Scheibe

Great place, glad we found them. Been going to Medina over 2 months now and he loves Lauryn and Kyler. Wish they had more ABA therapy places available... live in Wooster and long drive everyday.

Karrie Swan LaRock

My 11 year old son has dyslexia and has made noticeable gains in working At LLA THERAPY. Katie is strong in her approach toward him and also keeps him comfortable enough to perform well. We will continue visiting both the Fairlawn and Hudson offices and recommend them highly.

Ron Monroe

My 9 year old just completed about 9 months of weekly speech sessions (due to his stuttering) with Matt Hagge at LLA and we are thrilled with the experience and results. What I thought might be a negative (what kid really wants to go to speech class?) was made very positive by Matt, and my son never hesitated or complained when we talked about class. He really enjoyed it and really took what Matt taught him to heart. His speech has been greatly improved and we definitely recommend LLA. Thank you so much!

Heather Dougherty-Pantoja

My son’s Occupational Therapist, Jess, is an amazing OT! She gives practical tips on working with my son at home and school!

Terri Apgar

I cannot say enough good things about LLA Therapy. My daughter was a client of Teal Simmons’ for approximately 2 years and was just released from speech therapy! She was diagnosed with Apraxia in 2015 and worked with Teal twice a week. Through Teal’s application of PROMPT therapy, my daughter had age-appropriate speech after one year. All of the staff we interacted with at LLA were absolutely wonderful. They really care about what they do and making sure your child achieves their goals.

Kelli Geisler Davisson

LLA Therapy has been an excellent experience for my son as well as my family! My son always asks, "When can I go see Ms. Jeannine again, is it Monday??" He has also made huge gains in only 5 months! I would highly recommend LLA and have already shared my experience with friends looking for services!

Victoria Hansford-Price

We are so grateful for our Speech Therapist Ms.Teal. We have seen a great improvement with our sons confidence and communication abilities since we have started "Prompt" therapy. What we love the most about LLA and Ms. Teal is that Kohl feels comfortable and relaxed which has played a critical role in his progress. Thank you Ms. Teal for all you have done.

Laura Lee Hogsett

They have helped in numerous ways. Speech, OT and behavioral. I've had numerous compliments on my son's progress thanks in very large part to LLA. I would recommend LLA before I recommend our local children's hospitals, though they are good, they don't have the staff that LLA does.

Amy Furukawa

We had a great experience with Matt Hagge at LLA! Our Middle School age son was becoming very conscious of his voice, which is nasal due to a cleft palate. Matt helped him to better form his sounds and project his voice in a way that makes the unavoidable nasality less noticeable.Our son is more confident and outgoing & even took on a speaking role in the church play. Matt has the perfect personality to relate with our son, and we would recommend him to anyone needing speech therapy services!

Jessica Havalotti

LLA Therapy has been an excellent experience for our daughter. I would highly recommend LLA. Miss Grace was so amazing and I can't believe how quickly our daughter showed improvement. Thank you!
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