Child sign language workshop lets the hands do the talking

By Amanda Hanson - bio | email feedback

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - What if your baby could tell you what they wanted without ever having to open their mouth? Well, it's possible. A free child sign language workshop took place Saturday that gave a glimpse of the benefits.

Children from 9-months to 3-years-old were using their hands to do the talking. It's something language instructor Stephanie Behunin with Signing Time Academy has experienced from her own child first-hand.

"We knew that ball was his first word because he signed it," said Behunin. It's a skill she says doesn't just help with communication, but over-all advancement. Behunin says children that learn how to sign at a young age tend to have less tantrums because they can communicate what they want. And adds, some studies have shown children that learn to sign often have a higher IQ.

"He was able to tell us what he wanted, when he wanted to eat. It actually started an interest in letters, reading, and spelling. He's three now and he can read," said Behunin.

Children signed songs, and learned some of the most commonly used signs. Parents involved say they believe in the philosophy.

"A lot of people looked at me like why are you doing that? I said a child can learn to wave bye -bye so early, and that's a sign. So they can learn how to sign things like more and thank you. That's why I wanted to get started," said one mother.

"Watching the videos has helped my son to read too. He can read all the words he's learned to sign," said another mother.

The workshop Saturday was just a preview of what's to come. Starting Thursday March 31st the Signing Time Academy is offering an eight week class session for children 9-months to three-years-old. Classes will take place at 10:30a.m. at J. Christopher Toys and Gifts, 627 West Parker Road in Jonesboro. The cost is $80 and includes materials for at-home success. To register just call Stephanie Behunin at (870) 932-4217 or e-mail

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