Using signs actually makes it easier for babies to learn to talk. When we compared children who had been encouraged to use signs with children from the same areas who had not, we found that the signing babies consistently scored higher on standardised tests of both receptive language development (how much they understand) and expressive language development (how much they can say).
Communicating requires thinking, planning, and decision-making (e.g., "Hmm, is that a bird or a duck?"). Each one of these activities stimulates the developing brain in important ways that benefit the child the next time around. Because signing enables children to communicate at remarkably young ages, Baby Signs® babies enjoy a "jump start" in the development of the neural substrate of language.
Baby Signs® babies "pull" verbal language from adults
When babies use signs to call attention to things, adults quite naturally respond with lots of appropriate words (e.g., "Oh! You see a kitty! That is a kitty! That kitty looks just like our kitty, doesn't it!"). And we know that the more language a baby hears, the faster language acquisition proceeds.
Baby Signs® babies can pick the topic
We all find it easier to learn about things in which we are really interested. With signs at their disposal, babies can direct their parents' attention to objects they find fascinating rather than just listening to labels for things their parents think are important.
Using the Baby Signs® Program is fun!
Just as learning to crawl is so exciting that it inspires babies to learn to walk, signing whets a baby's appetite for even better ways to communicate. In other words, the motivation to learn to talk actually increases rather than decreases when you encourage your baby to communicate with signs.