Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Blog north awards

Exciting news...

A Different View has been short listed in the 'Best personal blog' category at the Blog North Awards

Not only a good day for myself and the blog but also (I'd like to think) for the wider,  inspiring and wonderful Down's Syndrome community too.  

You can vote for me here:

Thank you for your support xx

A step closer

We have been working hard on Ella's walking recently both in terms of getting her moving and building up her confidence.  She has been very reluctant to walk unless holding both of our hands to steady and guide her.  Her protest if we don't offer her both hands is to sit down and refuse to move.  I've mentioned her determined streak before I think?!

Over the last few days, this has begun to change and our perseverance has, once again, started to pay off.  Walking holding one hand is now the best game going...

She's still a little wobbly but seems to be gaining confidence with every step...

Another thing I have been working on (maybe a little selfishly) is Ella allowing me to adorn her beautiful hair with pretty clips, slides and bobbles.  She has always been sensitive around her head - she hated hats even as a tiny baby and still won't wear them now! She also hated the head protector in her baby car seat.  

Hair brushing is tolerated but nothing more, with lots of head shaking and angry protests if she even sees a hair accessory.  Over the last couple of weeks, I have started putting clips in her hair to try and see if I can slowly progress to pony tails and pig tails....  This seems to have worked to some extent (Aunty Vicki these pics are for you!)... 

There was still some head shaking and I need more practice (hence the 'rustic' look) but progress none the less!...  Just after I took these pictures she reached round with both hands and whipped the bobbles out.  Will try again soon!

She is a step closer to walking unaided but, for now I am still treasuring those moments xx

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Quick update

A few pictures of what Ella has been getting up to recently:

Her favourite viewing position for Mr Tumble

A lovely afternoon with Daniel and his mummy...

A selection from our weekend away with Granny, Chris, Uncle Tommy & Aunty Vicki, Uncle Henry & Aunty Izzy...

The Gruffalo is a favourite at the moment...

He has terrible tusks and terrible Jaws,
And terrible teeth in his terrible jaws.

He has knobbly knees and turned out toes,
and a poisonous wart at the end of his nose.

His eyes are orange and his tongue is black,
He has purple prickles all over his back

Oh Help! Oh No! It's the Gruffalo...

 Ella is going to love roller coasters!

Will never get tired of watching her do this xx

After our woodland carriage ride...Not at all sure of Sherman the horse.

Give us an E...

The biggest recent news is that we have a gorgeous little kitten.  Ella crawls at speed after her (Kitten is not sure of Ella at the moment). Whenever Ella sees her, she attempts to say 'cat' and then does the sign for cuddle and says 'aaaaah'.  She's been having a go at playing with her too...

I am sure they will get used to each other soon.

Monday, 10 September 2012

Thank you, Makaton

Learning to communicate is one of the fundamental life skills and we start learning from the day we are born.  It's a skill that a lot of us take for granted but have you ever thought about what it would be like not to be able to ask, tell, explain, name objects, express emotion, read, or write?  I already know, at 21 months old that Ella will get very frustrated if she can't make herself understood.  Or I become frustrated that I can't communicate with her - not because she won't understand me but because sometimes I don't know how to....

And this is where Makaton sign language has been an invaluable tool that we (as well as grandparents, friends & family) can use to communicate better with her - and of course,  her with us. 

Makaton uses signs and symbols to aid communication.  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.  It is known that babies understand verbal language and words long before they can speak themselves.  Signing can therefore be 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.  Makaton is also used by older children and adults with many differing language needs or disabilities.  A lot of signs you see in public buildings are makaton symbols and almost everyone has heard of Mr Tumble and his  infamous spotty bag!... 

As the alter ego of Justin Fletcher, he has really raised the profile of makaton signing in his 'Something Special' series and made it more accessible to parents and children.  He has also given children with disabilities a chance to be included and seen on TV which is another big plus to the programme.  Both myself and my mum have 'Something Special' on series link and have both found watching it really useful - learning signs in context rather than out of a book means they are much more memorable (and I do have a soft spot for Mr Tumble too...!)

So, to the reason for this post...After they saw a previous post I wrote about Makaton via Twitter, the Makaton Charity asked me to consider writing a blog for their website.  It didn't take me long to agree to do it, I have been a regular visitor to their website over the last few months.  They have a wealth of information, resources to buy or download and national makaton training programmes.  

I remember reading the existing blogs from other families - how and why they use makaton on a day to day basis.  They were reassuring to me at a time when we were signing away to Ella and getting blank or amused looks back... I wondered if she would ever start signing but from reading other stories I knew Ella would get there in her own time.  And she has come so far in such a short time, with new signs appearing every week.

You can read our story following the link below. If I am able to reassure another parent just like me at the beginning of their Makaton journey then I will be more than happy...

Another fellow blogger and mum to Natty (who also has DS) has also recently written a post about Makaton which is a lovely, informative read and can be found here:

Do We Really Need Makaton?

Dad of Eleanor also writes about Makaton and its value for children with DS, you can read it Here

Thank you for reading xx

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