Look who’s talking now

Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Look who’s talking now thumbnailLinda Murphy has been helping parents and babies communicate through the use of sign language.

IT'S a scene familiar to parents of babies and toddlers everywhere. Your child is red in the face, little fists clenched, crying uncontrollably.

A picture of abject misery. Your only thought is to ease their distress. But, although you would do anything for them, all your efforts have been in vain.

The frustration for both parents and little one is total. Recognise this? If you do, well, help could be at hand.

New classes have begun in Newry aimed at helping babies and toddlers to sign their needs to their exasperated parents.

The belief behind the initiative is: 'Why wait until your baby can vocalise what they want before being able to find out?'

Pioneered some 15 years ago by former primary school teacher and Mother-of-two Katie Mayne, Tiny Talk baby signing classes are being delivered to more than 7,000 families a week by more than 120 teachers across the UK.

Sessions include the use of nursery rhymes, multi-sensory toys, instruments, books and playtime. Parents also get the chance to socialise over refreshments afterwards.

Linda Murphy runs the classes from upstairs at the Merchant Cafe Bistro after moving to Northern Ireland with her husband, who hails from these parts.

Linda previously ran the classes in Surrey. She had went along to a class with her own child and "fell in love" with the concept.

She told us a little more about what a positive impact the classes can have.

“I think the amazing thing is the easing of the frustration for babies," said Linda.

“Their vocal chords and their muscles don't form until a lot later on, but [with] their hand and eye co-ordination and their hand muscles - we've had babies as young as three months signing 'milk.'

“So instead of screaming and the parents not knowing why they're crying - they can sign 'milk' and the parents know straight away that that's why they're crying.

“As they get older we introduce a number of different signs, whether it's pain - say for example of they're teething - they can do the sign for 'pain' and point to their teeth."

“And it's actually opening up their minds. So they can't physically speak yet because they're too young, but you know they've got it all in there - it's just trying to get it out."

For further information see the website


Subscribe to read full newspaper »

Send to a friend

Please complete the following form to inform a friend about this page.

In order to process your information we must ask you to enter the letters in the image into the box:

CAPTCHA Image play audio version Reload Image

* Mandatory field - please complete