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Simply Signing

Wednesday, 13 May 2009

Last year we featured Lorna McCormack who had just released a sign language book aimed at kids. Today we'll be featuring her second book and we'll also be visiting a crèche which has begun teaching kids how to sign.
Lorna McCormack, Simply Signing

Lorna McCormack is the owner and Managing Director of Simply Signing.

Simply Signing is an innovative service which introduces parents and hearing babies to the joy of communicating through Irish Sign Language Their programmes also support Deaf children and children with special needs and their care givers. Deafness and Irish Sign Language is a strong part of Lorna's family as she is hearing and her husband is Deaf. When they became parents they understood the anxieties of parenthood and the importance of signing with their baby, due to the communication needs in their family.
They slowly started to introduce signing to Connor to aid his communication with his father Geoff.

They built on Connors natural tendencies to communicate with pointing and gestures by using Sign Language for communicating basic needs. It was because of this experience in her own family that Lorna tried to pass on these skills to other parents that she met through work who needed this support. The reception that she got from parents convinced her that she could fill a social need in our communities, a need not confined solely to those who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing but to all Children. She is fully convinced about the value of Irish Sign Language; it is part of Irish Society and as such is the 3rd most used language in the country. She says that Irish Sign Language can be used to empower children and give them a positive early start in communication.

What was your initial inspiration for the two books?
Since 2007 we have been introducing children, parents and professionals to Irish Sign Language. Over the years in Ireland people have been sourcing books with sign for children, these books depict British or American Sign Language which are not in use in Ireland. We decided to publish and design our own books as we felt it was important that children had access to the indigenous sign language of Ireland and learn Irish Sign Language as a modern language.

Simply Signing's mission promotes the education of Irish Sign Language to all children, to provide a colourful access through our publications, devoted to early intervention and educational work with infants, children, educators and their caregivers.

Has there been good feedback to the first book?
There has been very positive feedback from parents and professionals to the extent where we have requests for our other publications and we have many people who are anxiously waiting for this book "I can sign, The Alphabet" and more publications in the near future

Have you heard of many children who are now able to sign as a result of the first book?
We have worked with many parents with hearing babies and toddlers all of which wanted to introduce their children to sign language so they could communicate before they could speak. Sign language has encouraged speech and supported children's literacy.

The "First Animal Sign Book" introduced many parents and young children to the idea of using sign with their children .As a result we have heard many stories of children enjoying the book as well as parents as it is a lovely book to enjoy together. There has been a huge increase of children now signing and are enjoying and discovering something new. We are delighted to be part of that discovery.


What are the benefits of introducing sign language to children?
Irish Sign language can facilitate communication before a child can speak. Young children are able to communicate more than just their basic needs. They can influence others by using sign and change a topic of conversation. This sense of empowerment contributes to the happiness of the child also enhancing a child's confidence, self esteem and self expression which can help reduce frustration.

Research shows that adding a movement element to verbal and written language learning will positively impact early literacy skills. Young children can learn to spell manually using the ISL alphabet before they can write. Sign language across the world is becoming an integral part of preschool curricula. ISL can be an incredible bridge between receptive language and verbal language. It is also a wonderful tool for children learning English as a second language.


Tell us about the second book, "I can Sign, The Alphabet"
Simply Signing's new book "I can sign, The Alphabet" published by Simply Signing will be launched on May 13th on The Afternoon show and available exclusively to Tesco and Irish Deaf.com.

This charming new book beautifully illustrated by Stephen Wylie and colourfully written by Lorna McCormack introduces children of all ages to the alphabet in Irish Sign Language. Illustrated throughout by Stephen Wylie, an accomplished artist and illustrator. He has a unique style leaning towards vibrancy in colour and rich visual content. This is his first work as a children's illustrator, but if the rave reviews are a telltale sign, this will not be his last.

Children at a very young age can learn the alphabet in sign and learn to spell words in sign before they can write. This fresh new approach helps to support hearing children's literacy and help increase memory.

Simply Signing's publications are available for all children as well as supporting children with special needs. Simply Signing encourages all parents and teachers to introduce all children to Irish Sign Language as knowing a second language, such as ISL, boosts self-esteem, their confidence in learning, as well as their awareness of the Deaf culture.

What do you hope to achieve from the second book?
This second book is a new fresh approach to learning the alphabet and supporting hearing children's literacy. Learning to speak read and write English takes years, patience and practice for young children. But they can effortlessly use their hands for comfort, communicate and acquiring information from a very young age.

Irish Sign Language can also be used in educational settings from as young as six months to sixth class, with subjects such as English, history ,maths , music , drama, in these settings, it clearly supports content by defining concepts and aiding memory. Simply Signing's publications are available for all children as well as supporting children with special needs. Simply Signing encourages all parents and teachers to introduce all children to Irish Sign Language as knowing a second language, such as Irish Sign Language, boosts self-esteem, their confidence in learning, as well as their awareness of the Deaf culture.

We hope that with this book we will encourage the community to introduce Irish Sign Language as part of every child's social and educational development.

Would you like to see Irish Sign Language (ISL) compulsory in schools?
Irish Sign Language in schools would be very beneficial to children in school as part of the curriculum. Irish Sign Language can be used in educational settings from as young as six months to sixth class, with subjects such as English, history ,maths , music , drama, in these settings, it clearly supports content by defining concepts and aiding memory

Sign language across the world is becoming an integral part of schools curricula. ISL can be an incredible bridge between receptive language and verbal language. It is also a wonderful tool for children learning English as a second language

For More Information - www.simplysigning.ie

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