Mar­garet has fun at Sing and Sign class

Hamilton Advertiser - - NEWS - Shirley Bar­tynek

A Hamil­ton-based Sing and Sign class wel­comed Cen­tral Scot­land MSP Mar­garet Mitchell to their group.

The politi­cian joined Amanda Mcdon­ald, who heads up the La­nark­shire and Glas­gow South branch of the par­ent and baby class, at the Red Burn Farm.

Mrs Mitchell got to sit in with a group of ea­ger tod­dlers and their par­ents as Amanda helped them to learn new ways of com­mu­ni­ca­tion.

Sing and Sign helps fos­ter com­mu­ni­ca­tion be­tween ba­bies and par­ents, be­fore a baby would typ­i­cally learn to talk, al­low­ing par­ents to bet­ter un­der­stand their lit­tle ones.

A baby may al­ready com­mu­ni­cate by wav­ing, point­ing or clap­ping their hands, so Sing and Sign ex­pands upon that pre-ex­ist­ing vo­cab­u­lary and al­lows ba­bies to say when they are, for ex­am­ple, hun­gry or tired.

Amanda, with the help of her class mas­cot Jessie Cat, teaches her keen stu­dents these new skills through a va­ri­ety of songs.

Con­ser­va­tive MSP Mrs Mitchell, said:“i was thor­oughly im­pressed by the tal­ent on dis­play when I vis­ited the Sing and Sign class.

“Amanda and her stu­dents were fan­tas­tic and opened my eyes to a whole new skill set.

“Not only is Sing and Sign great fun, but it also teaches ba­bies and par­ents how to bet­ter com­mu­ni­cate with each other when speech is not fully de­vel­oped. While Sing and Sign can be a great way for par­ents and ba­bies to com­mu­ni­cate, the skills gained may act as a pre­cur­sor to non-ver­bal speech in later life.

“Sign­ing may be used by, for ex­am­ple, a per­son with a hear­ing im­pair­ment or other con­di­tion which may limit their abil­ity to com­mu­ni­cate ver­bally.

“I was hon­oured to be able to at­tend the Stage 2 Sing and Sign class, but it’s a shame that there is no op­tion be­yond this as it has clear po­ten­tial be­yond ba­bies of this age.

“Par­ents who at­tend Sing and Sign are of the opin­ion that their child learns to talk ear­lier as a re­sult.

“Ba­bies also ex­pe­ri­ence less frus­tra­tion as they are able to ex­press them­selves and be un­der­stood by their par­ents.

“I was par­tic­u­larly heart­ened to hear that one lit­tle girl was able to sign to her par­ents to tell them that she was in pain.

“The sub­se­quent doc­tor’s ap­point­ment found an un­der­ly­ing is­sue and it was suc­cess­fully treated.

“A sign­ing sys­tem such as the one used at Sing and Sign, or the more com­mon Maka­ton, could be used as part of the cur­ricu­lum and even as a pre­cur­sor to British Sign Lan­guage.

“Over­all, Sing and Sign leads with ex­cit­ing new pos­si­bil­i­ties in com­mu­ni­ca­tion.”

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