Babies are learning sign language

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT)-A toy store in Jonesboro was filled with parents and their children, but they weren't shopping for toys.

Around ten children listened intently as Stephanie Behunin with Signing Time taught the kids sign language on Thursday.

Behunin has been practicing sign language for about ten years and teaching classes for almost two.

Behunin says people often don't realize how many advantages sign language offers.

"I can not even begin to explain the benefits. They have a higher IQ, they can read earlier, they are better socially adjusted, and you also end up having better communication with your child. When you're signing it requires eye contact."

Behunin says the idea that sign language can slow the progression of other skills is a myth.

"Some people believe teaching their child to sign will slow the child's verbal development down, but I have experienced the exact opposite with my own children. My son is very articulate and has a lot of words to say. I've also had lots of other people tell me the same."

Behunin says books and dvds are great tools, but parents should look into taking their child to a class.

"The benefit of having a class is that you have live instruction. You can ask questions to the instructor. Our dvds are great for at home, but if you have a question this gives you someone to answer it."

More importantly, Behunin says sign language allows a child to communicate.

"Sign language gives your non verbal child a voice. It gives them the words they need to express what they want. It's even good for those children who are already verbal because it builds a foundation for a second language later on in life."

Behunin is teaching children nine months to three years of age.

Classes are about forty-five minuets and are taking place at J. Christopher's in Jonesboro.

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