Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Makaton IPad App

If you are lucky enough to own an IPad, there is a brilliant new app available called MyChoicePad which is a Makaton communication system.  It uses Makaton symbols, signs (with videos) and synthesized speech.  It will contain all the published resource vocabulary within the next few months.

This app has been created by a lady called Zoe Peden who has collaborated with the Makaton Charity to make this happen. 

Whilst a lot of us with special needs children struggle financially due to the circumstances and living predominantly with the aid of benefits, if you can afford the IPad and this app, it would seem to be an invaluable tool.  It would not only help the carer/educator to become fluent in Makaton but also prove immensely beneficial to the person with communication difficulties, giving them the opportunity to 'find the words' in order to get their meaning across. This would also contribute to self-esteem and confidence.

I have mentioned this product to the school where I work in the hope it may one day find it's way into our resources - but of course, it all comes down to budget!  In a perfect world, this kind of technology would be readily available to anyone who needed it.

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Baby Sign Language

Out of the blue I have been e-mailed a link to a great new website full of information and resources for
Baby Sign Language.  Not all the signs are similar to Makaton, but a good deal are, and it is a good basis for communication with your baby/young child before verbal communication kicks in.  There are free downloads of wall charts and the like too, which are very  useful. Worth checking out.

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Too Much Holiday!

I'm sure you and I could never have too much holiday, but I'm afraid the past month or so has been quite tough for my daughter.  What with the three weeks she had off from college and the double-double bank holiday weekends, her routine has been well and truly thrown.

This hasn't caused any major outward difficulties, but I did begin to notice she was becoming more and more introverted and spending far too much time alone in her room.  It was getting increasingly difficult to get her to come out anywhere, even to walk the dog, and she's a grown woman, I can hardly manhandle her!  This isn't helped by the fact that when you are at home and getting on with the day-to-day stuff, time whizzes past and you suddenly realise she has been up there for more than a couple of hours listening to the same CD over and over again.

I also noticed a definite deterioration in her speech - she couldn't even be bothered to answer a question with a 'yes', just gave me a thumbs up.  Again, it's easy for her to let her conversation slide when she is at home as we know her so well and can second guess her meaning.  However, I can't begin to count the times over the years when I have had major meltdowns myself in order to get her to make a proper sentence instead of grunting a monosyllable at me.  So frustrating when you know that if she was with a stranger she would make the effort to talk properly.

This kind of situation hasn't been a problem for quite some time as for the last couple of years her Monday and Friday activities have continued throughout the school holidays so she has had the extra outside stimulation.  So the month of April 2011 was not a good one for her.  I knew she was happy to get back into routine on the first day back at her theatre group when she was up at about 6 a.m. and dressed and ready to go about an hour before she needed to be - as well as doing half the housework on her way!

I don't think this is a situation that will arise very frequently - Royal weddings & Easter don't usually coincide - but it is obviously something I have to watch out for and try to ensure she doesn't slip beneath my radar again!