I first heard of Signing Time before I had kids. One of my really good friends in college was a Special Education major. She took American Sign Language for "foreign language" credit and she showed me one of the videos, explaining that they were produced by well-known LDS producer and composer Lex D. Acevedo (whose arrangements of instrumental hymns I listened to while in labor with my daughter). She also told me a little about the inspirational story behind Signing Time.
Soon after, I was in a language development class required for my Early Childhood Education major, and someone asked the professor about infant sign language. He admitted that he didn't know much about it, but he suspected that teaching children to sign would delay their speech because they would sign instead of talking. He obviously didn't know much about it, so he should have not answered the question. Research indicates that babies who learn sign language have significantly more advanced speech development than their non-signing peers when measured at 24 months and 36 months. There are many other benefits to baby signing, including reduction of aggression in toddlerhood and higher scores on IQ assessments at age 8.
Although I hadn't looked at the research, I was fortunate enough to have my negative conceptions of infant sign language challenged by my wonderful fellow daycare/preschool co-workers who used a few simple signs ("more" and "all done") to communicate with the one- and two-year-olds at mealtimes. I saw that it made it a lot easier to know what they wanted, and my mind was opened to the idea.
When my daughter was a baby, I read a little more about infant signing, and decided it was a good thing to do. I taught her some signs, including "more," "all done," "hot," and "music." (There were a few more I tried to teach, but didn't have enough opportunities to practice them for her to learn to use them). With my son, I have use the sign for "milk" to refer to breastfeeding, which he uses (which cuts down on him trying to pull down my shirt). He also uses "more," though he won't sign "all done" for some reason, though I think he tries to say it. He doesn't have any discernible words yet, but he can communicate some things to me. I want to teach him more, but feel I don't know enough signs to be able to teach him as much as I would like.
Recently, we rented a Signing Time DVD from our local library. Most of the signs were not really useful for a baby, but my three-year-old daughter really enjoyed the songs. She watched it over and over and will show me the signs she learned from it. I think it would be precious if someday she were to meet a child who uses ASL and could communicate some with him or her.
I was excited to see that Sheridan at Enjoy Birth is giving away her used Baby Signing Time DVDs, CDs, and a used BabySigns book. I think these materials would definitely get use at our house--I think my kids and I would all enjoy them! If you think you would like some great resources for signing with your baby, visit her blog to learn how you can win!