Who we are Blog Signing up for a Magical Christmas A ‘signing Santa’ gave Edinburgh families a day to remember yesterday (Tuesday 10 December 2019). Families who regularly visit The Yard came along to a special Signalong Santa session, with Santa signing to their children and handing out gifts. Santa is the latest member of The Yard Edinburgh to learn how to sign, with more than 20 members of staff also trained in the Signalong method. Signalong is a key word sign-supported communication system based on British Sign Language used by people with additional speech, language and communication needs. Not only do staff use signing as a means of communicating with children of all ages and their families who attend The Yard on a daily basis, but The Yard also delivers Signalong courses within the community in and around the Edinburgh area. In the last year, The Yard has trained around 150 staff from organisations ranging from the National Museum of Scotland and nursery staff, to after-school club staff and parents. One of the families to benefit from Signalong, who met Santa today, is Jack Staples (4) who came along with his sister Lucy and dad Bill. Bill said, “The Yard is Jack’s favourite place in the world. Every visit is a new adventure and there is nothing better than seeing his face light up on arrival. As parents, having a safe controlled environment we can come to play is invaluable. All the staff are amazing and we couldn’t imagine our life without it. “Jack is at the very early stages of learning how to sign. He already knows how to ask for a piggy back and jump – two of his favourite activities!” Meanwhile, Jamie Swift Adams came along with his daughter Jocelyn (2), commenting, “Using Signalong in our early years sessions at The Yard removes lot of worries about Jocelyn’s communication development. Danielle and the team always make it fun too! Knowing there are courses to help support us in the future is great.” Meanwhile, Celine Sinclair, Chief Executive of The Yard added, “Signing is an extremely important and life-changing tool for the many families who attend The Yard. There’s a perception that signing is only for the deaf but it’s valuable amongst children of all abilities. Every day, we see the remarkable benefits it can bring to our families, improving the lives of the children themselves but also their wider circle of family and friends, making them all feel more included and welcome, and taking the frustration out of situations where families have been struggling, or entirely unable, to communicate with their loved ones. As we take our courses out into the community, these benefits can only grow and make a real difference to the way we all communicate in our day to day lives.” Find out more about the training courses provided by The Yard. Give a gift to The Yard families this Christmas. Thank you.