Sign language helps babies communicate

HOUSTON - A Houston woman is teaching other parents how their babies can express themselves through baby sign language.

Instructor Mimi Vance at the Motherhood Center wrote a series of children's books called "Words by the Handful." Each one illustrates five different words using American sign language.

"If you can just start with a handful and a handful will actually take you a long way for signing with children," said Vance.

Vance, a mother of two and life-long language specialist, is self taught, and now teaches other moms to learn what their babies are trying to say.

Some mothers found sign language helped reinforce their child's language development.

"If he was murmuring cookie, we didn't know what he was saying. But if he did the sign at the same time, we could give him a cookie," said mother Cari Arnold.

Mother Kristi Schipper's children grew up signing. She believes signing can alleviate those dreaded temper tantrums.

"You could just see him getting so mad and just giving him the tools that he could use on his own, it really decreased drastically," said Schipper.

Vance said consistently using sign language around babies makes it easier for them to pick it up.

The next session of "Words by the Handful" starts on Sept. 11 at the Motherhood Center, 3701 West Alabama. For more information, call 713-963-8880.

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