We were always trotting off to either a Mother and baby group, baby swimming lessons or a playbarn somewhere. It was fun and I loved taking my baby these places showing him off and seeing how much fun he was having. Life was very sweet indeed.
One day, whilst walking out of our regular SureStart Children Centre after another busy play session with DS already well on his way of flaking out in his pushchair I just happen to spot a 'Makaton' sign language course leaflet on the reception desk.
The course was to run over 6 weeks by a fully qualified Makaton tutor, the aim of the course was to teach parents some basic signs to help ease of the frustration of toddler tantrums. For example, it is believed that many toddlers react badly to the word 'no', the sound of the word makes them throw themselves on the floor so it was suggested that using the sign for 'no' is a possible alternative. This was before anyone was aware of DS autism but I thought it would be something useful to learn so I signed up.
I found the course interesting and picked up the signs well even if I do say so myself :)
I definitely enjoyed it more than I thought I would and have used makaton ever since with DS. Immediately at the end of the course, I wanted to take it further and increase the signs that I knew which would mean enrolling on a college course for this and with running a home, baby and juggling work it just wasn't a option really.
When later it became apparent that DS had communication and speech problems, I was grateful that I knew Makaton at a reasonable level and used it pretty much constantly when communicating with DS.
DS doesn't sign but DOES have a good understanding of Makaton. All staff in his school sign too. Unlike the British Sign Language, Makton is used along with speech to, if you like promote the spoken word.
Recently, I've been very lucky to receive a grant from a local charity. A lady from the charity asked me to come up with a 'wish list' for both DS and myself. I listed things that DS would just absolutely love and for myself I listed a extension of 'Makaton'. She seemed interested in this and within a day had arranged for a independent speech and language therapist to come into my home whilst DS is at school for 1:1 sessions in Makaton - I can't wait!
I've met the speech therapist and discussed with him what I want to gain from our sessions, we have already plotted our first lot of sessions.
I think this is a great skill to have and can't wait to get cracking with it!
I promised myself that I would use my time from work effectively and I think this is just another good example of this :)