Thursday, 10 May 2012

Twinkle Twinkle...

It is well known that children with Down's Syndrome are very visual learners.  Learning through seeing and doing is how they process the world around them.  That is why we were encouraged to start signing words to Ella from very early on.


(Not quite as early as this pic, but from about 4 months old)


We started with things that we did or happened a lot such as drinking milk (drink), change (nappy), sleep, car (you get the idea!).  There are also signs for hello, where, what, sorry etc... Here are a few examples...
Drink:





Makaton is different to sign language.  The signs are mostly intuitive and involve an action rather than a static sign.  The word that you are signing is always spoken alongside the sign, unlike sign language.  

In the beginning, learning a few signs was fairly easy but now she is more engaged and we are doing more with her I now have to know lots of signs!  Animals, places, feelings, objects.... It's never ending. I have also been known to use signs during conversations when Ella isn't there (at work, out with friends....)  

Nursery also embraced the signing and have had some great results from the other children too.  They have even introduced 'sign of the week'.  It is known that babies understand verbal language and words long before they can speak themselves.  Signing is used to bridge the gap between understanding and talking.  And using the sign doesn't stop children from speaking or delay their speech. Once they can verbalise the word, the sign drops off as they no longer need it.

The pay off for starting signing with Ella so young is that we are now beginning to get some feedback  and we are very proud of her! Even better than just signing she is also attempting the word with the sign.   We get 'awa awa' when she waves and 'tar' for star....




Our little superstar xx


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