By Ellise Hollie Hayward, 21, Disabilities Correspondent, Jill Dando News
A mum who set up video tutorials to help people understand Makaton after using the sign language with her daughter has had a book from author Jacqueline Wilson dedicated to them.
It follows a Prime Minister’s award for mum Nikki Holt and her inspirational daughter Lucinda who was born with Down’s syndrome.
Jacqueline Wilson used the youtube channel to research Makaton for her latest book The Best Sleepover In The World.
Not only did she draw inspiration from Makaton with Lucinda, but she also dedicated the book to the pair.
The author said: “I’ve recently written a book about two sisters, Daisy and Lily, who are determined to make their sleepover the best ever.
Nikki started the YouTube channel, Makaton with Lucinda, where they began by filming a word and sign of the day.
Wilson subscribed to the channel and dedicated her latest book to them.
Their channel now has more than 11,000 subscribers.
She also won a prestigious award from the Prime Minister.
Nikki Holt from Weston-super-Mare, Somerset began the series ‘Makaton with Lucinda’ after her daughter, who has Down’s Syndrome, benefited from using the language programme.
They were delighted when they were both awarded a Prime Minister ‘Point of Light’ award for doing their videos! (https://www.pointsoflight.gov.uk/makaton-with-lucinda/)
Nikki told us: “In the last few weeks we had a total OMG! moment to find out that the famous Author, Jacqueline Wilson had been watching our videos to help her learn some Makaton signs for research for a character for her new book ‘The Best Sleepover in the World’!
“The email explained that Jacqueline Wilson had a character in this book who was non-verbal, and she wanted them to be a Makaton user – It then went on to say that she wanted to send us a copy of the book because she had actually dedicated it to us!
“And sure enough, there inside the pages it is there in print! “She also sent us a lovely little note thanking us and she had signed the book.
“I am totally blown away by this and I am so very proud of Lucinda, I cannot really put it into words!
“I hope when she is a little older, she will start to understand just how amazing she is and the impact she has had!Nikki studied to become a Matakon tutor during lockdown. Makaton is a language programme that uses signs and symbols along with speech – to help people with communication.
It is designed to support spoken language and can particularly help children who have no speech or whose speech is unclear. Nikki has now made thousands of videos and interactive tutorials to help people understand how to communicate words and nouns in Makaton, including animals, months of the year and religious holidays.
Nikki told our Jill Dando News reporter: “I qualified to be Makaton Tutor in 2021 and it is the best job in the world, however I have been raising awareness of Makaton for a lot longer!
“As well as being a Makaton Tutor I am also Mum to my beautiful girl Lucinda, and she is my inspiration for everything I do.
“Lucinda has Down Syndrome and using Makaton with her has changed our lives. Lucinda is a visual learner, so Makaton has been perfect for her communication.”
Back in 2019 Lucinda and Nikki took part in a Down Syndrome awareness video campaign with the charity Wouldn’t Change a Thing.
The video was released for World Down Syndrome Day and consisted of 50 Mums with their children singing and signing using Makaton in their cars to a ‘A Thousand Years’. (https://youtu.be/Biex1XR_mpo?si=nGHuKSIMwzrXjFLT).
Ellise Hollie Hayward is the Disabilities Correspondent for Jill Dando News and the Good News Post. She started the role after giving yet another motivational talk – this time at Priory Community School Academy in Weston-super-Mare, the school that paved the way for JIll Dando News.
For more stories from Ellise and Jill Dando News click: http://www.goodnewspost.co.uk