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Review: Sign & Smile CD-Rom

An easy introduction to the joys of using sign language alongside spoken word, for early communication with your baby.

Posted: 23 March 2006
by Laura Lee Davies

Sign and Smile PC CD-Rom

A simple and appealing introduction to the joys of using sign language with speech for better communication with your baby
It's quite low-tech, but then the cartoon images are soft and enjoyable so this isn't a huge problem
Features: Cd-Rom with website access, fun activities, a visual dictionary of over 150 British Sign Language and American Sign Language expressions.
Price: £12.99

The concept:
Long before your baby can speak, his language is highly developed in how he cries, when he cries, other facial expressions, pointing, wriggling and so much more. It is vital that those around him communicate with him and we do this by eye contact, physical hugs, how we talk to him, etc. Sign language is one more way in which we can make this vital bond and help him express himself. He doesn't have to be deaf or communcating with a deaf person to get the most out of sign language.

The CD-Rom is at pains to emphasise that signing should never be silent and you should use the words as well as the sign, that way your baby begins to form his vocabulary too.

In practice, babies who sign are much more likely to have increased vocabulary than other toddlers by the age of two. They are also usually more confident - because they feel they have been able to communicate their needs - which leads to better IQ and EQ (emotional intelligence - an ability to empathise with others).

In action:
This CD-Rom is really easy to navigate and quickly explains the theory and practice of signing. You don't need to have done an adult sign language course yourself.

The optimum time to start signing with your baby is at around six or seven months, when he has started to express himself by pointing etc. However, it can be introduced and established any time up the point when he has fully developed his ability to speak in sentences. (After that, if sign language has been used, it can be continued along with full spoken communication.)

The CD-Rom's dictionary is easy to get around and broken up into useful sections of basic vocab (150 words might not seem a lot but it's pretty much all you'll need in those first two years). Words like 'mum' and 'dad', 'yes' and 'no' stand alongside 'nursery', 'playground' and 'medicine' to build up a wonderful reference map of words that fit around your lives together.

What you get
The CD-Rom has several short chapters offering reasons why baby signing is a great communication tool, tips on how to start signing with your child and when, downloadable flashcards to increase your ways of sharing new words, and easy to navigate visual dictionaries split up into useful chunks like 'family' and 'out and about'.

What you need
The CD-Rom loads automatically when you put it into your computer's CD drawer. Minimum requirements are: a monitor capable of 16bit high colour at a resolution of 800-600, a CD-Rom Drive, Win 95 or above and any edition of Microsoft Internet Explorer.

The ThinkBaby verdict

Easy to use and an appealing way to enhance your baby's ability to communicate with you.
Entertainment: 5/5
Value: 5/5

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Discuss this story

Have you used signing with your baby? What were the results?

Posted: 22/03/2006 at 13:14


Yes, I have been taking my son to Sing and Sign classes since he was 11 months old (6-18 months is the recommended age to start). He can now use 30-40 signs, and can tell me when he wants a drink, is in pain, needs a nappy change, when he's seen a bird in the garden and so many more things. Signing gives a wonderful insight into what is going on in a child's head and how they are making sense of the world around them. There are so many benefits to baby signing -it reduces frustration, helps speed up speech and language development, can increase a babies IQ, to name but a few!

I would recommend signing classes, or buying a DVD. Sing and Sign sell a fun DVD which makes learning the signs really easy. The website is

Try baby signing and you'll soon be reaping the benefits. My best wishes to to you :)

Posted: 25/03/2006 at 20:26

Hi I'm new here and interested in this thread as I've been signing with my third daughter over the last year and have had such fun with it and great results. Even my husband is in to it now and seems to be taking more of an interest in interacting with her at an earlier age than he did with the other two! I caught him boasting on the phone the other day to a friend about how many signs she could do!
Her fist sign was at 9months 'nappy', to tell me that she had just filled it, lovely! After 2 weeks she was using 6 different signs in context and now at 13 months she is using about 26 signs regularly . As I type she is banging on the patio window shouting and signing bird as there is a big fat pigeon in the garden.
We have been going to Tinytalk classes as they are great fun and much more motivating than going it alone. Although of course you can do it however you like, but it does work. Give it a go there's nothing really to lose.

Posted: 12/01/2007 at 14:34

hi Laura,
It was more a case of having to use sign language than having a choice but it is definatly a good thing. It stopped lucie becoming frustrated and when i had my sacond daughtershe picked it up very quickly and Lucie and Kayleigh had conversations before Kayleigh could talk!

Louise xx

Posted: 12/01/2007 at 16:35

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