Tarome’s owner, Liz Harawira said the Makaton seminar came about through her contact with Donna Marie Smith from Te Vaerua Community Rehabilitation Services.
“I have personal experience with my daughter needing help from a speech specialist and Donna put me in touch with Kirsten, who is here on holiday.
“We offered to run the seminar at our day care for any parents or members of the community who were interested in finding out more information, and got a positive response.”
McDonald, a speech therapist from New Zealand first learned Makaton as a way of communicating with her Down-syndrome son Joshua, and is now an accredited tutor of the language.
The system uses signs, symbols and speech to help people communicate and can be personalised to an individual’s needs and used at a level suitable for them.
Harawira said her staff and children were committed to learning one symbol a week.
“Myself and my staff all took part in Kirsten’s seminar and we are now teaching that to our kids. It is quite easy to learn and we already have our babies starting to use Makaton, which is cool to see.”
As well as donating her time, McDonald, also left behind some Makaton workbooks and Harawira said she hopes that those who came to the initial seminar on Saturday can look at starting a monthly session to continue their learnings.
For more information, contact Donna at Te Vaerua on 22426.