Hello, this is a picture of me and my four children 4 years ago in July of 2008. I am going to tell you the story of how I got into signing now.
I was in my 30's –oh, I still am- and was very pregnant looking on the internet for information on Makaton. Why, you might ask? Well, I thought it may be good for my oldest but as it turned out it was not, but I stumbled across www.tinytalk.co.uk and instantly became engrossed and immediately decided I would teach my baby some baby signing. Katie Mayne, the founder of TinyTalk, has literally changed my life.
That's where my journey started and boy it has been one special journey indeed. I searched for a baby signing class near me, but there were not any TinyTalk baby signing classes in Leicester. I did though buy all the merchandise as I really wanted to learn how to use signing with my baby. I also emailed a teacher and asked if there was a class near me and she encouraged me to become a teacher. I was amazed and thought how this could be but also thought no harm in trying, and try I did.
In the mean time I had a handsome little boy, my 4th healthy child who I named Azad, and taught him some basic signs. I had the ball rolling with TinyTalk with the procedure. I did go to a different baby signing class but had my heart set on TinyTalk although the other class was brilliant and any class is a good thing to go to. Well, I was successful with my first interview and remember singing how much is that doggy in the window. The next stage was going to meet the founder Katie and other TinyTalk teachers for the information day.
To cut the story short I got a franchise with TinyTalk but needed to wait before teaching as I did not have enough signing experience yet. I continued teaching my baby waiting for the day for him to sign back to me and he did indeed which I have explained in earlier blogs. His favorite signs were 'more', 'bird', and 'flower', then that dreadful 'biscuit' sign and the list went on and on and on. Also I taught some toddlers some signing skills and one went on to continue this in his school and the other went on to do signs and symbols set by her speech therapist to continue my good work.
Below you will see some signing pictures of my youngest son as he has grown up. The one where he is signing cows was last summer when he was aged three.
So above we have my son and his signing of 'bird’ when he was 11 months old, 'where' perhaps 18 months old, sand later on, and then cow aged 3. As you can see my daughter is there also and only yesterday she came to my final clip class as I had not got a sitter for these two and when we were back home. She wrote all of the signs she remembered from the TinyTalk classes she had been to in the holidays and she is thinking of taking BSL level 1.
I was trained as a TinyTalk teacher in July 2008 and taught my first ever class in September 2008 just as Azad approached his 1st birthday. The road to learning British Sign Language (the signing system in the UK) had begun.
Another year passed and I decided to go on to a BSL level 1 course and have not looked back. I went onto level 2 and only yesterday finished all my clips for BSL NVQ level 3. WOW and I knew nothing and now almost in my grasp is level 3.
I have had wonderful teachers and especially the last two years a lovely lady called Marie Tacey has really helped improve my signing and the non-manual features.
So, what is next? Well, I forgot to mention I have also done the toddler training for TinyTalk and have taught toddlers now for two years which links the classes closely to the EYFS which is the Early Years Foundation Stage here in the UK. Then, I went on to train as an organizational trainer so I am able to go into nurseries and train the staff to use baby signing with the children in their care as well as teach child care professionals and take workshops. It is all really good and to top that I became the organizational training coordinator working with another TinyTalk teacher, Charlie Richardson.
So my Journey has been very exciting. Baby signing is a stepping stone to help babies communicate before they can speak and also a stepping stone for those adults that would like to learn a new language to learn about deaf culture and continue to teach the children signs even though they can talk for their country.
What is next for me? I will continue to be a TinyTalk teacher. I have a dream of having many families use baby signing. I will, in time, go on a communication support worker course and eventually go on to Level 6. I aim to have as many nurseries trained as possible here in the UK and I will continue to spread the word of baby signing.
Thank you for Reading.
I am a mother of 4, teach baby signing and also BSL level 2 qualified, love TKD and much more.