Classes help babies communicate through Sing and Sign

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A CITY woman is helping parents communicate with their babies through a form of sign language.

Molly Leib runs a number of Sing and Sign classes teaching babies and toddlers – and their parents – to interact before the children are old enough to talk.

They are taught simple signs for words to indicate when they are in pain, hungry, thirsty or when they need their nappies changing.

The eight classes a week that Molly runs involve songs and nursery rhymes that incorporate repetitive signs that are easy for children to recreate. It is thought the skill could help to relieve frustration in children who have the ability to express what they need or want.

Molly said: “I started back in Bath when I attended a class with my daughter who was four months old at the time. We went until she was two and a half and I was told by teachers I was a natural signer.”

When Molly moved to Milton Keynes she found there was no Sing and Sign classes so started a franchise in the city. She feels Sing and Sign is key to helping babies communicate before they are able to talk.

She said: “It is amazing what they can teach babies to get across. By 10 months my daughter had made up a sign for us putting her music player on, which we do every night.”

One mother who attends Molly’s classes, Sophie Pearson, said her daughter Lucie had picked up the signs really quickly. In some cases she feels it has stopped her having tantrums.

She said: “Lucie has just turned 18 months and I think she is a really good talker, she says a lot for her age. She uses an inhaler and when she wants it taken off she makes the sign for finished. This lets us take it off her before she panics or cries.

“The classes are well tailored for each age group because when they are young they are taught the noise an animal makes with the corresponding sign and in advanced classes the name of it is incorporated. The forms of songs include things children do everyday including nappy changing and bathing. It is always made really clear.”

Another mum, Kelly Israel, said her daughter Xanthe was able to identify that she was suffering with thrush after pointing at her nappy and making the sign for pain.

Kelly said: “To make the sign for pain you point the fingers together to the middle of the body. She did that near her nappy and when we checked she had no marks or rash so we took her to the doctor and he found she had thrush.

“It is amazing that she was able to communicate that because it could have gone undetected for months. It made all the money we had invested worth it.

“Even if you do one term of it you’ll see the benefits. It enhances communication and reduces frustration.”

Molly has played a small part in the success of Sing and Sign and helped them celebrate being awarded a Gold Disc by the British Phonographic Industry after passing 25,000 DVD sales.