Tiny tots signing classes to expand

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A RECENTLY opened signing class for babies in Belper has had such a successful start – it is about to open three more.

Dawn Holt’s Tiny Talk classes, held at Christ Church Hall on Bridge Street, teaches tots how to learn sign language from birth – even though none of the youngsters in her lessons are born deaf.

She says the method is proven to help babies learn how to communicate more effectively and now has 20 families enrolled on the course, which started in September.

Two of the parents Dawn teaches have been so inspired they are already training to teach their own classes in Duffield, Littleover and Chaddesden.

Dawn said: “Baby signing, in a nutshell, is the use of simple signs and gestures, taken from British Sign Language (BSL) to help babies understand what you are telling them and to sign back to you about the things around them.

“Babies who sign are consistently shown to have earlier and more fluent speech. One recent study showed that their language was still markedly better than children who hadn’t signed at age three.”

There are currently 130 Tiny Talk classes running across the country.

Dawn, 48, from Horsley Woodhouse, holds the franchise now for the Derby and Belper area.

The mum of three first learned how to sign shortly after her youngest son Ruben, who is now five, was diagnosed with Downs Syndrome.

She had heard that using signs to communicate with her disabled son would help his development and joined a Tiny Talk class in Oakwood, Derby.

She started picking up the signs herself after two weeks and it was only a few months before Ruben could begin repeating them back to her.

He began by making the sign for ‘milk’ when he needed feeding.

Steph Cavanagh, of Butterley Lane, Ripley attends the classes with her six-month old son Daniel and daughter Amy, two. She said: “Amy has been going for two years and her language has developed lots. She can do over 80 signs now.”