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Welsh youngsters to benefit from new language system

Wednesday 21st August 2013
Welsh youngsters to benefit from new language system
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Children in Wales are set to reap the benefits of a new language system designed to help youngsters with special communication needs.

The latest tool has been launched by two child stars of a TV series in the country and will aim to provide learning materials for others all across the country. Fflur Jones, nine, and Mabli Davies, five, feature on the popular S4C series Dwylo'r Enfys (Rainbow Hands) and were present at the launch of the Welsh language Makaton teaching packs at the National Eisteddfod in Denbigh. It is part of an overall scheme to promote the native tongue across Wales.

Makaton, created by The Makaton Charity, is a unique way of helping children develop communication skills through innovative speech therapy techniques. It is a language programme which uses signs and symbols to help people talk to each other easier and more comfortably. The benefits of Makaton is that it is extremely flexible and can be personalised to the needs of the individual.

Among the aspects involved with Makaton is the ability to share thoughts, choice and emotions while also being able to take part in games and songs. Users can utilise the programme to create recipes, menus and shopping lists, write letters and messages, help people find their way around public buildings and label real objects, pictures, photos and places. It is already proving a real success with over 100,000 people using the programme.

Speaking about the launch of the Welsh version, Bethan Jones, Fflur's mum, said: "We had to fight for speech therapy, there are hardly any Welsh speaking speech therapists.

“Dwylo’r Enfys has been marvellous in changing people’s attitude towards people with disability and Makaton has been part of that. Years ago many people with disability were kept in special schools. How society has changed.”

The S4C series is already proving a huge hit in Wales and has been shortlisted for a Rockie Award at the Banff World Media Festival in Canada as well as contending for a BAFTA Cymru award for best children's programme.

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written by Megan SmithADNFCR-1780-ID-801628014-ADNFCR

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