A Leighton Buzzard mum hopes to raise awareness about a revolutionary language programme that has helped thousands of children and adults to communicate.
Lisa Jacobs, 36, is encouraging schools and families to learn Makaton, which was developed in the 1970s and involves creating signs and symbols with your hands to support spoken language.
The programme is particularly beneficial for children and parents, as well as users with additional needs, and many will later drop the signs or symbols at their own pace when they develop speech.
Lisa said: “It’s a form of communication for people that is similar to British Sign Language, and can help if you have communication problems – it’s reinforcing what you are trying to say.
“My daughter, Abigail, two and a half, has additional needs and I don’t always understand what she is saying, but if, for example, she puts her hands together to make the symbol for ‘sandwich’, I will know what she wants.”
Lisa explains there are lots of symbols you can sign, such as ‘dog’ and ‘house’, and although you can pay for Makaton courses, there are many free online videos so families can teach themselves.
She also praised Greenleas Lower School for having Makaton books in the classroom, and Leighton Buzzard Mencap for using the programme – even for singing!
She added: “Having a child with any form of additional need is not easy. It puts a strain on everyone in the household.
“It would be great if Makaton could be more widely used so that families, such as mine, feel more included. It’s the little things in life which can make such a big difference to others.”