Sunday, 25 November 2018

Not Makaton, Not BSL but Lamh?

Do the deaf children need more confusion given the disablement at day one isn't just deafness?  A video went viral showing the reaction of a young boy to the actor Rob Delaney signing a bedtime story on the CBeebies channel.

Delaney wasn’t using British Sign Language – he was using something called Makaton. Here in Ireland, we have our own version of Makaton. It’s called Lámh, and while it’s based on Irish Sign Language, it’s a different form of signing. The team behind Lámh welcomed the excitement about Delaney’s CBeebies appearance, saying they hoped it would encourage Irish children’s television to feature Lámh.

“Lámh is a manual or keyword signing system for children and adults with intellectual disabilities and communication needs in Ireland,” explains Mary Cullen, manager of Lámh Developmental Office.

It’s a signing system as opposed to a sign language. Irish sign language is the natural sign language of the Deaf community in Ireland and has evolved naturally as a language – it wasn’t set up or created by anyone. While Irish Sign Language (ISL) is a complex language with grammar and a huge vocabulary, Lámh is different. It’s mainly for children and adults who have intellectual disabilities, to help them with communication. It is not strictly for people who are hearing impaired in some way. 

“Lámh was created in the early 1980s – it is a system of a small number of signs that are less complicated [than ISL],” says Cullen. She explains that it’s a system, rather than a language like ISL. 

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