5-month-old shocks deaf grandparents with sweet sign language gesture

The heartwarming TikTok clip has left parents in awe

Grandparent holding baby's finger
(Image credit: Getty Images)

A viral TikTok has captured the sweet moment a baby 'communicated' with her deaf grandparents in sign language - and it's so heartwarming. 

Research, both old and new, has consistently revealed how important grandparents are when it comes to teaching kids important life lessons. And for the McCullough family, those lessons have begun early as their five-and-a-half-month-old daughter is already learning how to communicate through sign language thanks to her deaf grandparents. 

In a TikTok post that has now gone viral, Mara McCullough's daughter can be seen sitting in a baby rocker, frantically moving her arms and hands in an attempt to converse in sign language with her grandma and grandpa, who are showing her the correct signs for what they interpret her to be saying. 

"It's almost hard for me to believe my baby who isn't even half-a-year-old yet is beginning to try to communicate with us," McCullough told Newsweek. "It fills me with joy knowing she is going to be fluent in American Sign Language and sign with her grandparents."


♬ scott street - ★

The heartwarming post has received millions of likes, with hundreds of parents whose children have deaf grandparents taking to the comments to share their own similar experiences.

One wrote, "Just wait til she’s two and having full conversations in sign with your parents!" While another added, "I taught my daughter some signing before she could verbally speak and it was so great and helped so much. Communication is so powerful no matter what."

It may seem amazing that such a young child is able to seemingly understand sign language before they can speak, but research has long shown that babies can start to learn and use sign language at a much younger age than can start developing verbal skills despite the complexities of the language. 

"The way she waits and pays attention to their signs as if truly conversing with them," one commenter wrote, highlighting how conversation-like the baby's sign babbling was. 

"Sign language, especially in babies, is so fascinating to me," another added. "Such a beautiful and intelligent form of communication!"

A child's skill development is always at the forefront of any new parents mind, with questions like 'when do babies smile?' and 'when do babies start rolling over?' being frequently asked. We've got you covered and have rounded up the baby development milestones and child development stages your child will experience as they grow up. 

News writer

Charlie Elizabeth Culverhouse is a news writer for Goodtoknow, specialising in family content. She began her freelance journalism career after graduating from Nottingham Trent University with an MA in Magazine Journalism, receiving an NCTJ diploma, and earning a First Class BA (Hons) in Journalism at the British and Irish Modern Music Institute. She has also worked with BBC Good Food and The Independent.