My personal barrier has always been my spelling. It causes me daily struggles, from writing essays to filling out a form. I rethink and question every word I write, panicking if I make a mistake. Being asked to scribe for a group or the whole class causes my whole body to tighten and sweat. Even when I openly state, in a jokingly fashion, that ‘My spelling is awful’.
Embarrassment can be a torture technique that causes stress levels to rise. You are not in control of the situation you are in and you feel uncomfortable and personally completely stupid.
Even though it is my struggle, I can see a very clear positive. I know what it is like for a child to struggle. I hope to use my inside knowledge to not only support the child but give them the tools to be able to struggle happily and to not let it stop them from trying.
I recently completed a Makaton course, which I believe has given me some of the most important skills I have ever learned. The course opened up my mind and senses to children who fall behind in education and life because the world does not give them a fair starting chance.
By using Makaton, connections between speech, writing and actions become strong and each factor helps the other. For instance, a child could know the animal standing infront of them is a cow, but they can not remember the letters and sounds for the word ‘cow’. At this point they are perceived as not knowing the answer. But what if the child raised their hands and created horn like shapes out of the top of their head? This, the Makaton sign of cow, shows everyone that although they do not know the sounds they’re knowledge is there. By using Makaton they were able to show this.
Makaton or other sign languages helps all children whether they have communication difficulties or not. It is a strong way of communicating and we all use it daily without realising. By using our facial expression to show someone were sad. By waving our hands in a certain way to say goodbye. By looking someone in the eye after asking “Are you really okay?”
Makaton includes everyone in the classroom not just children with SEN or EAL. By using Makaton effectively it can give children more support with their learning and create more opportunities to have conversations and solve problems.