Sunday, February 21, 2016

The King of Makaton

On holiday after a day lying in the sun Mr H ties his bow tie and I choose a cocktail dress from our overfull wardrobe. When we sit down in the bar for our pre dinner sparkling water champagne, I spot a young man snapping photographs around us. It looks like you are having fun I say and after a chat we invite them to join us. In that moment of serendipity we meet two exceptional people...

Chris tells us he teaches Makaton: a language programme using signs and symbols to help people to communicate

Oh I would like to learn I tell him...

Can you teach me No Cake I ask

Of course...take your main hand and hold it up like this

then sweep it to the side, that's No Chris grins

Then cup your hand and place it on top of your other like this

That's Cake

I practice No Cake You've got it Chris smiles

I keep doing it as I stare at Mr H and he throws his head back and laughs. I explain that I eat too much cake so now Mr H can silently try and stop me!

Chris teaches Makaton at Hallam University, he also teaches some of the Police officers where we live Nicky tells us, Chris is too modest to tell everyone but I am so proud of him...

Some people confuse it with British Sign Language (BSL) Nicky tells us as we sip our ice cold drinks, but it is different. More accessible. Simplified

Chris chips in to tell us a tale:
About three years ago I was teaching a group of senior nurses when two nursing Professors who were sat in the front row, started talking to each other. I stopped teaching and said excuse me, please listen, I am teaching you...

Wow well done, people talking used to drive me mad when I was teaching...What did they say?

They stared at the floor. They went red. Embarrassed. 

How long have you been signing Chris we ask

Mummy started using it when I was a baby and couldn't talk. It helped me to visualise words. She told me stories, signed books for me.

I love my Mummy Chris says with a sideward glance at his Mum, She encourages me but she's strict. I tell everyone I am so lucky to have her as my Mummy. She fights so hard for me, she's a lioness. When people stare at me she has taught me to ignore it, so that's what I do. Ignore them. 

He has had articles written about him Nicky tells us beaming, her eyes twinkling with love and pride. if you tap Chris Sampson Makaton into Google and you will find lots more... famous then I smile. Mr H says Chris you are The King of Makaton!

We meet each evening after that, eager to hear more, learn more from Chris and Nicky. 

One evening, Chris takes his ipod out of his pocket and shows us a video of him signing a rap which he did for a drama group audition; he was immediately accepted they tell us. He shows us a recording of him teaching Occupational Therapy Students at a Conference to sign a song from Glee...

Please teach me Don't Stop Believing ...

Take your main hand like this..
Thats Don't

Then Stop is like No

Point to your head like this for Believe

Then this is for!

Thats our Mantra in life Nicky tells us Don't Stop Believing... Mine too or Never Ever Give Up I say

You are an inspiration Chris, you both are. 

The best teachers 
Teach from the heart 
Not from a book