For children aged 0-2 years most common

  • enabling communication and better understanding each other
  • promoting attachment
  • reducing the number of cries and tantrums


For children aged 2-6 years most common

  • supporting language development (in the case of delayed speech development, always seek professional advice on the cause of the delay!)
  • a more creative way of expression
  • confidence, emotional stability


For children aged 6-14 years most common

  • developing fine motor movements and eye-hand-mouth coordination
  • stimulating conceptual, visual thinking
  • easier memorisation of course material


At an older age

  • to enable / facilitate communication, to better understand each other
  • increased sense of competence resulting in a calmer, more balanced lifestyle
  • improving quality of life by facilitating mobility


In any age group

  • an old-new opportunity for self-expression
  • the specialty of hand-signs is that they can be used in a wide variety of ways,
  • from learning to speak, to memorising syllabus material, to using them even at concerts.

The primary aim is to develop the eye-hand-mouth coordination as sophisticated as possible. While saying the word we form the sign and simultaneously try to follow the movement of our hands with our eyes. So, when applying it, we always say the word we are signing.

When using the method, the following are applied

  • signs of sign language
  • signs of own creation,
  • non-verbal signs,
  • fantasy developing movements: Hand and finger movements that can be used to associate with a characteristic of a particular object, living creature or concept, or something to do with them.
  • signs of the cultural treasure: These signs are typically bound to a specific Cultural Treasure (a saying, a song, a fairy tale, a riddle, a piece of music… etc.), often only interpretable in the context of the text.
  • hand and finger gym
  • and other hand signs that do not fall into any of the above groups.

Other important elements of hand signal communication are

  • the mimic
  • the posture
  • body movement
  • articulation
  • slow, refined, and graceful movement,
  • maximising the coordination of verbal words with signing as much as possible.

The aim is not to translate a text in its entirety, but typically only the more important, more emphatic words or shorter phrases are converted in signs.

There are four basic finger positions: closed, curved, bent and open. For each handshape, the position of each finger can be clearly defined. Combinations of the above four finger positions on different fingers give the individual handshapes. So far, I have systematised 169 consistently named handshapes.

Group creating handshapes
To make the system of handshapes more transparent, I have classified handshapes that differ only slightly from each other into a group, so at present 30 such group creating handshapes are identified.

Handshape gymnastics
The handshape gymnastics performs a movement between two handshapes making handshape gym for a specified time, following well-defined rules in advance.

A list of handshapes is available here 

The handshape gymnastics performs a movement between two handshapes making handshape gym for a specified time, following well-defined rules in advance.

The sign can be visual, motor and auditive according to the nature of the association.
1. Visual – association of ideas based on sight.
2. Motor – Motion-based association of ideas
3. Auditive – association of ideas based on sounding

A certain sign can be shown with one hand or with two hands. If the sign is formed with one hand, the active hand should normally be used (i.e. the hand that is dominantly used in everyday activities), if both hands are used, then the passive hand (the hand that is used less in everyday activities) also plays a role. In the case of a two-handed sign, the role of the active hand is also greater, since most of the movements typically being made by this hand.

There are four basic finger positions: closed, curved, bent and open. For each handshape, the position of each finger can be clearly defined. Combinations of the above four finger positions on different fingers give the individual handshapes.
If the active or passive handshape matches, it is indicated here.
With marking “Other”, the other information can be found under this heading.

There are 16 types of movements in the database. By using different types of movements, children’s motor coordination can be developed in a targeted way. Important, by movements I usually mean larger movements that require a change of position.

Children’s fine motor skills are less developed than those of adults, so they can show only 1/3 of the handshapes used by adults. *

When choosing baby and children’s signs, it was important to find a sign that was relevant to their world, and vocabulary, simple, and that the handshape used was something that the little ones could show or was close to a handshape that they could show, and that could not be easily confused with another sign.

For baby and child signs, always use exactly the sign shown in the video, even if it is formed with a handshape that is not on the list of handshapes that the child can show. This is because some handshapes are very close to each other (e.g.: “O” and “S”), of which it is advisable to use the correct handshape from the start. In this case, the child is expected to imitate the simpler handshape first (in case of inaccuracy, the probable handshape is also marked), and then will learn the more complex handshape as his/her fine motor skills develop.

Children often show signs differently from adults, even when we show them the easiest sign to make. To make it easier to recognise these signs, a category has been created, “Is inaccuracy expected?”, or what handshape the child is expected to use: “Probable handshape”. A list of handshapes is available here.
For easier recognition of signs made by children, video recordings can also be used: „Baby- and kids’ video”.

A list of handshapes is available here

*Krisztina Kozma: Early stages of sign language development in deaf and hearing children, http://www.anyanyelv-pedagogia.hu/cikkek.php?id=450 , 21.01.2021

I divided the human body into 29 parts and the surrounding space into 9 parts, which gives a very detailed picture of the body’s movement in space.

If the hand-sign is in any way more closely related to the body part (not necessarily touching, e.g. talking), it will be signed. Possibly, it is connected to the sign for some other reason (e.g. the nose in the case of a flower sign).

By the head I mean only the parts of the head (typically the area covered by hair) that are not included in the other lists (forehead, temples, eyes, mouth…etc.).

Hands and fingers are not signed separately in the body parts section because the information on them is included in the handshapes section.

Shoulder, upper arm, elbow, forearm, and wrist movements include only significant movements from the initial position to the final position of the hand-sign. No movement is recorded until the initial position is taken.

The baby sign language usually designed to help non-speaking babies communicate, using simplified baby signs.
In hand signal communication there are seven types of signs that can be used even by older children and adults, too. For older children, the method can also help to develop fine motor skills and facilitate the learning of the curriculum. Another important element of the hand signal communication is the handshape gymnastics, which can be done by children and adults who type a lot, use mobile phones, or who have some degree of fine motor movement limitations. The aim of handshape gymnastics is to achieve a lighter, more graceful movement of the hands and fingers. The many hand-signs recorded in the web application could also be the basis for creating a new art form, for example, the use of signs in theatre performances or concerts.

Better communication skills

  • Better understanding each other.
  • In the case of delayed speech development, it can have a speech-stimulating effect!
  • They are more likely to start a conversation.
  • It promotes creative expression.
  • It allows better non-verbal communication, specifically in terms of gesticulation.
  • Helps with letter recognition in case of dyslexia.
  • The tantrum caused by miscommunication and misunderstandings can be significantly reduced.

Better thinking

  • It promotes the development of conceptual thinking.
  • Babies notice a lot more things than their parents previously thought and remember them surprisingly well.
  • Using signs every day develops fine motor skills.

Increased emotional stability

  • Thanks to more successful communication less tears are likely to result. The “terrible twos” crisis will not be avoided, but its negative effects can be significantly reduced.
  • Reduces frustration, since, in addition to crying and hamming, it gives the child plenty of opportunities (the average child can learn 100-120 signs by the time he or she starts talking) to express his or her thoughts.
  • Increases feelings of competence, and confidence.
  • More reserved children express themselves more easily.
  • Strengthens attachment.

The many experiences of success give children greater self-confidence, and thus greater emotional stability.

Source: Linda Acredolo, Susan Goodwyn, Doug Abrams: Baby-signs, How to talk to your baby before he or she can talk, Kiskapu, 2008.
http://www.signingtime.com/resources/research/ , 17.01.2018

It’s the best to start at 6 to 8 months but note that most babies don’t start to give feedback until between 9 to 12 months. You can start teaching either immediately after birth or until the child is about two and a half years old.

If the answer to any of the following is yes, it’s time to get started.

  • The baby is at least 6 months old.
  • He/she puts the finger on objects.
  • He/she puts objects in front of you and waits for your reaction.
  • He/she waves bye-byenods, or shakes head.
  • Picture books are of interest for her or him.
  • He/she is disappointed, if cannot make himself/herself understood.

Be patient, sooner or later all babies will respond, it is expected that the first signs will take the longest to learn. Remember that each baby learns at his or her own rhythm!

Source: Linda Acredolo, Susan Goodwyn, Doug Abrams: Baby-signs, How to talk to your baby before he or she can talk, Kiskapu, 2008.

Signs become less and less suitable for expressing more complex things.

    1. The child goes farther and farther away and does not see You.
    2. More and more often he or she meets people, who don’t use baby signs.
    3. He/she will more and more need his/her hands for games. (e.g.: colouring, cycling, puzzles)
    4. His/her thoughts become more and more complex and complicated.

Abandoning the signs usually takes place gradually over a longer period of time.

Source: Linda Acredolo, Susan Goodwyn, Doug Abrams: Baby-signs, How to talk to your baby before he or she can talk, Kiskapu, 2008.

Communicating with children in mainstream education using hand signs goes back more than 40 years. Acredolo and Goodwyn were the ones who developed the theory and practical application of this in America.

This new form of communication is now also becoming more widespread in Europe, in Finland and Sweden for example, everyone in public kindergartens uses hand-signs in a uniform way. In Finland, it is also widely used in schools of course, in both cases based on the national sign language.


Hungary is in the unique position that its sign language is an officially recognised language, and from 1st January 2021, it will be possible to obtain a nationally accredited language exam. However, the signs used by adults cannot be given one-to-one to children, because children’s less developed fine motor skills make it necessary to simplify the signs. The “You are the Sign” web app also features signs specifically tailored to children’s dexterity, while the filtering functions allow for highly targeted improvements.
The use of hand signal communication in mainstream education is intended to make everyday life easier for both children and teachers.
My aim is to bring the treasure of mutual understanding
 to the widest possible circle of society.