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Children from Orchard Brae School promote Makaton signing workshop for Santas

Pupils and staff at Orchard Brae School, Aberdeen.
Pupils and staff at Orchard Brae School, Aberdeen.

Santa and his helpers are learning how to communicate with children who have speech and language issues in the north-east.

Makaton is a language programme that uses symbols, signs and speech to help people with communication difficulties.

And next week, a Makaton signing taster session for Santa and his helpers will take place at the Aberdeen Community Health and Care Village.

Children from Orchard Brae School’s Makaton choir gave a performance at the Aberdeen venue yesterday to promote the initiative.

Speech and language therapist Lisa Bergstrand said: “The children absolutely adore using Makaton, particularly with singing and music, and it’s such a powerful thing for the children to learn.

“When they see other people signing, you see their faces light up and they think: ‘you understand, you talk my language’.

“It’s so powerful when they know other people out there know how to sign Makaton.”

Fellow speech and language therapist Pamela Cornwallis added: “Our training session coming up in Aberdeen next week is for Santa, his elves, Mrs Claus and other grotto people to come along and learn some signs so that children and young people like those here today can interact with them in their own language.”

A key figure behind the Makaton choir at Orchard Brae is music therapist Emmeline McCracken.

She said: “Once the children have the signs, it gives them a sense of confidence, and really helps them acquire the lyrics of the songs more quickly.”

The Makaton taster session takes place at Aberdeen Community Health and Care village on Frederick Street, Aberdeen from 4.30pm to 6pm on November 6.

Participation is £5 per person.

For more information, contact Sarah Thornborrow on 01224 310582 or sarah.thornborrow1@nhs.net.

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