As part of our baby sign language instruction, we use American Sign Language (ASL). In a very few cases we simplify the signs where the original ASL is difficult for an infant.
ASL is one of many sign languages. Other countries use different sign languages. Indeed, even other English speaking countries use other sign languages. For example, Australia uses Australian Sign Language (AUSLAN). You can use any of these sign languages or even a sign language of your own invention.
We recommend that most English speakers use ASL to teach their infants for the following reasons:
- Availability of Resources – there is a lot of material available for ASL because it is the most widely used English sign language. This makes it easier if you want to use other materials such as illustrated story books or sing-along DVDs, since most of these will be in ASL.
- Consistency of Signs – often when families make up their own signs they forget them or change them, making it harder for the baby to learn the signs and harder for parents to understand what the baby is trying to say to them
- Communicating Outside the Family – ASL is the most common sign language used for infants. As Baby Sign Language becomes more common, many parents, children, and child caregivers know a little ASL more than any other sign language.