Being a keyworker on maternity leave in lockdown, I wanted to do my bit for the community. Hearing the NHS claps every Thursday, made me feel a bit helpless not helping my fellow AHPs during this time. So I decided to offer free Makaton sessions using a total communication approach every week for 6 weeks on social media (Instagram) for parents with babies and children.
Many families were going through a tough time trying to home school their little ones during lockdown. Finding things to do with them at home isn’t easy. Being a first-time mum I could empathise with all the other parents. I knew how tricky it must be for them, not being able to go out.
The sessions turned out to be so much fun. I had parents sending me pictures and videos of them signing with their children every week, which put a huge smile to my face. I also started getting requests on which topics they would like to learn the signs for.
Being a mum, you often lose your sparkle (identity) in those stretchmarks’. Makaton signing using a total communication approach during mat leave allowed me to reconnect with TINA. I enjoy signing so much, especially to my 7-month-old (you can’t take the speech therapist out of me), helping him develop his essential communication and cognitive skills. It has really strengthened my relationship with him, getting me down to his level, making sure I give him that the eye contact, time and importance he needs. Plus, it’s enjoyable. Makaton is a fantastic language programme to boost all babies and children’s communication, cognitive skills including attention & listening, memory, fine and gross motor skills. It also helps to reduce frustration.
I also did a Makaton sign language session using a total communication approach at a fundraiser for the Anthony Nolan Trust – supporting kids who need a stem cell donor and for the non-profit organisation Young Lohana Society offering kids activities during half term lockdown.
I still deliver individual and group sessions virtually via zoom which are interactive and personalised to parents, babies and children’s needs.