Jacob is now 7 years old and we thought it was about time that we updated our story for you all.
Does he still need to use Makaton? Yes he does. Is his speech coming along well? Yes it is.
Jacob communicates to family, school and members of the public via verbal communication and using Makaton signs. It's not easy to understand Jacob when he talks, as he is still working on his vocabulary and diction. So he uses his amazing signing skills to let us know/ clarify what he needs, wants, or is trying to say to us.
Sometimes being Jacob's mum I still don't understand what he wants or what he is signing, but Makaton has given us the skills we need to work around the mis-understood. We can now re-phrase sentences so we both understand. You should see Jacob's face when I finally understand what he has been trying to say to me!
The other morning he was signing that he wanted a burger for breakfast. I thought he was signing 'cheese' as it looked just like it. He kept saying 'no!', 'no'. I asked him to keep signing, and I kept on guessing, until in the end he took me to the freezer, pointed to the right drawer and then signed again. I said 'burger?' and he jumped with joy. I'd finally got it right. (Shame he had to wait for tea time to eat his burger though, bless him.) But we both know to persevere and keep trying and Jacob has all the skills he needs now to make sure I get there in the end.
I never really relied on symbol use up until the last year or so. But as Jacob has got older and his experiences are becoming more varied I find Jacob's need to use symbols have grown. Jacob has a daily timetable that he must do every day in the morning. His level of understanding is amazing so as it happens we have to include the whole days activities. It may read like this, 'today, Monday, sunny day, wake up, breakfast, get dressed, school bus, friends, school, home, tea, pasta, grandmas house, home, undress, bath, book, bed'. Very detailed but that's the way he likes it. He has his own timetable for school activities when he gets to school.
When Jacob is at home he may continually ask me 'when' grandmas, or 'when' teatime. So instead of him getting frustrated and me too, I tell him to go and look at his today book, and he doesn't need me to tell him 'when' he can reassure himself.
We use Makaton every single day, and the whole family, use this now. Jacob has developed into a cheeky, interesting, loveable, thoughtful little man. He has many friends who all use Makaton and you should see them together. It's one thing that all our family love, to watch. Meaningful relationships, it's something I thought he'd never have and thanks to Makaton he has many close friends who share their love of life together.
We all love life now, it's just great.