A few months ago I wrote a post on teaching my baby to use sign language to communicate before his verbal skills had developed. And, I am here to tell you has been a huge success! My youngest, Charlie, is now 16 months old and he communicates with us using his signs everyday. I am not sure how we would be coping without them right now. He has been unwell over the last week and this is where his sign language has especially helped. He has been able to ask me for a drink when he is thirsty, and is even able to specify if he would like milk or water. He can tell me when he is hungry, if he would like more to eat or drink or if he is finished. Charlie actively uses 6 signs so far, milk, water, more, finished, Daddy and apple. Our whole family uses them to speak with him, including our 3 year old. In fact, she is by far the best at it!
We use them so often I sometimes find myself using them in adult conversation. ( and that can be a little weird...) Charlie is beginning to speak now and he is just adding the word to the sign, so this has not slowed him down at all. It is so wonderful being able to communicate with a toddler. I am quite sure it does alleviate some of the tantrums but certainly not all of them! It is incredibly exciting being able to see him totally understand what I am saying to him and he loves communicating back to us.