Signing Santa is ready!
NHS Ayrshire & Arran’s Speech and Language Therapy department has just begun
an exciting initiative with local groups and businesses to teach Santa’s helpers
Makaton is a language programme using signs and symbols to help people to
communicate. It is designed to support spoken language and the signs and symbols
are used with speech, in spoken word order. It also gives people who have
difficulties with speech and language an extra way of expressing themselves and is
often used by children with autism.
Businesses all across Ayrshire and Arran were encouraged to send someone from
their workplace. So far, Dobbie’s Garden Centre in Ayr, Heads of Ayr Farm Park,
Arran View Centre and Jacqueline McConnachie (a parent who is one of Santas
elves) attended the workshop where they learned Makaton from Elspeth Mair,
Speech and Language Therapy Manager and Jo Ford, Speech and Language
Therapy Assistant. They were taught core signs and relevant symbols, given a
booklet of line drawings and a poster to display to let everyone know that all children
can communicate with Santa at this Grotto.
Elspeth said: “Between eight to 10 per cent of all children in the UK have speech,
language and communication difficulties, so it makes sense to make sure there are
grottos where all children will be able to talk to Santa, even if they communicate
differently than others.
“We are working very hard at Getting it Right for Every Child, and will definitely be in
touch with local businesses to train more Santas next year! If you are interested in
attending a workshop, please email Jordann.Ford@aapct.scot.nhs.uk.”