Thursday, 31 May 2012

What a Wonderful Month!

What an amazing month it has been for Sign2Music. First of all we heard that we are a finalist in the What's On 4 Little Ones Awards (Best Local Activity for Under 5s and Most Outstanding Activity Leader for Under 5s, Deirdre MCLaughlin) and received a shiny new badge:

Then we heard we are finalists in the Netmums Favourites Awards for Preschool Classes in both Northern NI and Southern NI areas and got another shiny badge!

As if we weren't excited enough we discovered we were finalists in 3 categories in the Down Business Awards: Best Use of Social Media and Online Technologies, Training and Development and Chairpersons Special Recognition. We attended an amazing Awards ceremony in The Slieve Donard Hotel and WON AN AWARD for Best Use of Social Media and Online Technologies. We are absolutely delighted and will blog about this event later.

I was invited to Harrogate on 29th May to attend the launch of a fabulous book on baby communication, The Blossom Method, by my friend Vivien Sabel who is the author. I had the pleasure of speaking at this event and will blog about the event and the book later. This picture is me with my #twitmates Vicki Gilbert, Babies Can Sign, Vivien Sabel (author of The Blossom Method) and Heather Avul, Tinytalk Leicester:

Phew my feet haven't touched the ground this month, but it has been a wonderful month in many ways. Looking forward to blogging about what I have been doing and bringing you the news this weekend about the winner of our Daisy Doggy Supersigner Competition 2012!

Deirdre x

Thursday, 10 May 2012

Deaf Awareness Week 7th to 13th May 2012

It is Deaf Awareness Week from 7th to 13th May 2012. People are often think Sign2Music is an organisation solely for deaf children. Most of our service users are in fact hearing children and their families, carers and educators.

We do work alongside groups that support deaf children and this would be a good week to highlight some of these groups:

The National Deaf Children Society (NDCS) in N Ireland provide a variety of great services for deaf children and their families. If you have a deaf child please do check out the services they offer.

Sign2Music supports NDCS, delivering sessions for many of their events. Alison (our teacher in Bangor / Ards) works as an NDCS volunteer also. I will be facilitating a session for parents and a Sign and Sing session for children on Sunday 13th May at Jordanstown School for the Communication is Fun event. I also was invited to a super fun day on Mon 7th May organised by a new group called Sound Friends Deaf Children's Society. This is a local group in Portadown, run by parents and carers of deaf children. There are also similar groups in other areas

The British Deaf Association (BDA) is the largest UK Deaf-led organisation.  BDA represents the British Sign Language community and promotes British Sign Language, Deaf Culture and Deaf Identity The BDA works to promote equal rights for and to stop discrimination against Sign Language users.

Sign2Music took part in successful events with the BDA for Belfast Culture Night 2010 and 2011, promoting sign language and Deaf culture.

Sign2Music programmes do not use sign language per se, but vocabulary or signs taken from sign language (British Sign Language, NI Regional Signs), used alongside speech. We endeavour to ensure that the signs we use are accurate regional signs. We have a huge respect for the Deaf community and the beautiful language we have borrowed from them. We promote and encourage our teachers and service users to learn sign language through local colleges, etc. Many parents who have attended our classes have undertaken BSL qualifications, Stage 1, 2 and even 3! Some of our teachers had no previous sign language training and had to undertake this training to enable them to practice as a Sign2Music teacher. While the basic requirement is Stage 1, some of our teachers developed such a love for the language that they have gone on to do Stage 2 and 3!

Other organisations include:

Signature promotes excellence in communication with deaf and deafblind people. They are an awarding body providing a range of qualifications through accredited centres in sign language and communication.

Action on Hearing Loss is the new name for RNID (Royal National Institute for the Deaf). They help those who are deaf or have a hearing loss access services, receive equipment, care and support.

If you know of any other organisations in Northern Ireland that support deaf children please leave a comment.

Deirdre :)

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Beyond Business Awards Finalists Announced

Beyond Business Awards Finalists Announced

What a lovely surprise I had this morning when I 'opened' the online newspaper, Down News. The finalists for the Beyond Business Awards have been announced and as you can see I am LEADING the way. I am beyond delighted! There was a great caliber of entries and my fellow finalists are some of Down's best businesses.

The Award Ceremony will take place on Friday 25 May in the Slieve Donard Hotel, Newcastle. The next step is to find some suitable attire for the Gala Event. Fancy frocks don't exactly fill my wardrobe of course!

Look forward to sharing the experience with you all via social media and of course will do a very special blog after the event!

Thanks everyone!

A very happy Deirdre :)

Sunday, 6 May 2012

Happy Birthday Signing Sandy and Daisy Doggy!

It is so hard to believe but Sign2Music will be 5 years old tomorrow. This time 5 years ago Sign2Music was just a dream. I had completed my interview and test with Sign2Me and was awaiting to hear if I received certification as a presenter. Some of you may not know this but Sign2Music originally started out as Signing Kids. And Signing Sandy has had quite a few image makeovers in the past few years. Not only has he dyed his hair and changed his clothes, he has also had quite a bit of 'work' done and is a lot more handsome than he was in 2007!

What a whirlwind the past 5 years have been. We have had such fantastic feedback from our service users and colleagues and are always striving to improve the services we provide and reach as many people as possible to spread the joys of signing.

We have had a lot of ups and downs along the way of course! Reaching the finals in the What's On 4 Little Ones Awards in 2011 and being nominated in 3 categories in 2012 is definitely one of our great achievements.Voting for the 2012 Awards closes TODAY! Your vote would be a fabulous birthday gift for Signing Sandy and Daisy Doggy. It only takes a minute to vote in the following categories:
   1. Best local activity for under 5s.
   2. Most Outstanding Activity Leader for Under 5s ( N Ireland & Scotland) (Deirdre McLaughlin)
   3. Best Children's Party Entertainment

I've even sung again for your vote!

We are very grateful to those of you who helped and supported us over the past 5 years! The wonderful children, parents and carers we work with have been our inspiration! Thank you all so so much.
Deirdre :)