Inspired by his Younger Brother Leo, Older Brother Lucas takes on ‘Signing’

 In Down Syndrome Community Voices, Makaton, Siblings Perspective, The DS Advocate

 

Our son Leo, who happens to have Down syndrome, is 3 years old, and we have been using Makaton in our family since Leo was a few months old.
I went on a Makaton course before Leo’s first birthday and we have also learnt a lot from Singing Hands, as well as Something Special on CBeebies.
Leo’s older brother Lucas has always been very keen to join in. We all sign every day as part of our day-to-day conversations to make sure that signing is embedded in every aspect of Leo’s life. He has picked up a lot of signs over the last two years. He signs along with songs and stories, can tell us when he is hungry or tired, and can sign to name animals and objects. Some of his first signs were milk, more and pig.
I have followed several signing Facebook pages for some time. Lucas, who is 9, enjoys watching and learning the new signs with Leo and I. Since we have had to stay at home, it seemed like a good time to share with others the signs we use most often. We talked about which Leo’s favourite signs are and decided that that would be a good place to start.
I am a committee member and trustee of Down’s Syndrome North East (DSNE) and so I decided that DSNE Facebook page seemed like a good way to start sharing our signing films. DSNE have been using social media and emails to keep in touch with members of the charity, providing support, information and ideas for things to do during this challenging time. Our signing is now being shared on Twitter and Instagram too.
Lucas and Leo are thoroughly enjoying making the signing films. Lucas is a fantastic, caring brother who loves to do all he can to encourage and teach Leo. They have a wonderful bond and are certainly devoted to each other. Lucas has been eager to take part in all the extra things we do to support Leo on a day-to-day basis.
Lucas is now very excited to see each day how many views each sign has received. We are delighted that more than just our friends and family are seeing the boys’ signing and hopefully we can encourage others to see the value and importance of using Makaton to support communication.
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