These results indicate that ASL signs, used in combination with Signing Smart
strategies, facilitate both overall communicative abilities as well as spoken
language skills in hearing infants and toddlers.
Additional Research by the Founders
Dr. Lindert conducted research indicating that ASL enhances communication between parents and young children, leading to extended interactions about themes of interest. In deaf or hearing families, ASL opens up the world of communication for children who are not yet able to speak.
Lindert, R. (2001). Hearing families with deaf children: Linguistic and communicative aspects of American Sign Language development. Unpublished doctoral dissertation. University of CA, Berkeley.
Dr. Anthony researched the relationship between language, gesture, and literacy. Results indicate that school-aged children's ability to integrate language with gestures (which is what hearing children using sign language do) is positively related to their literacy skills.
Anthony, M (2002). The role of American Sign Language and "conceptual wholes" in facilitating language, cognition, and literacy. Unpublished doctoral dissertation. University of CA, Berkeley.
Signing Smart is currently studying the ways that signing facilitates hearing
children's ability to think about and understand language at an early age. Preliminary
findings indicate that hearing, signing children display advanced abilities
in recognizing and producing rhymes and in understanding and using synonyms
Dr. Anthony and Dr. Lindert's research at the University of California at Berkeley Sign Language Acquisition Lab demonstrates that very young children use the iconic quality of true signs (their conceptually-based "picture-like" quality) to more easily learn and begin to use them.
Slobin, D., Hoiting, N., Kuntze, M., Lindert, R., Weinberg, A., Pyers, J., Anthony, M., Biederman, Y., & Thumann, H. (2003). A cognitive/functional perspective on the acquisition of "classifiers." In K. Emmorey (Ed.), Perspectives on classifier constructions in sign languages. Lawrence Erlbaum.