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Sign language skills help youngsters communicate
A RYEDALE mum is helping toddlers and their parents develop communication skills through sign language.
Laura Walker of Norton teaches tots as young as six months to use signs to make themselves understood by parents and carers in a scheme pioneered originally by the British Sign Language organisation.
Laura said she taught herself the language after the birth of her daughter, Erin, who suffers from cerebral palsy. Erin struggled to speak and signing was a valuable tool in helping her to communicate.
“Children aged just a few months can pick up sign language, even before they can talk,” said Laura, who has another daughter, Isla aged four.
“As a result they are able to tell their parents when they need a drink, the toilet, or when they want something else.”
The youngsters are taught using a range of techniques, including singing, Laura explained.
“It’s good fun as well as being educational.”
The scheme follows in the footsteps of the children’s television character Mr Tumble who uses sign language as well as speech in his programmes.
West Heslerton headteacher Rachel Wells praised the initiative.
She said: “We facilitate the sessions which we find benefit the children considerably by using songs and rhymes. They are far more literate and it helps considerably especially in a sparse rural area.
“I have been amazed by the success of the scheme.”