Tipp Man Features in Resource Video Helping Children with Speech and Language Difficulties to Communicate

Lámh is the manual sign system used by children and adults with intellectual disability and communication needs in Ireland.


Many of the instructional videos are delivered by Barry Ryan (29)  an adult with Down syndrome from Carrick –on- Suir, Tipperary.

During a period when many children with speech and language needs are having difficulty accessing speech therapy services and support around communication, an innovative resource which demonstrates Lámh signs through video is proving popular with families and educators.



A hybrid of Irish Sign Language, adapted sign language and natural gesture Lámh Signs is quietly revolutionising the way people with intellectual disabilities, even those who are non-verbal, communicate with their loved ones and educators.


Lámh users may be more easily understood when they use signs with speech and it can greatly reduce the frustration experienced by those who are having difficulty communicating effectively.

A new video resource  called ‘Lámh Signs Online’ which features instructional filmed clips of signs is now going a step further to help people with disabilities, their families, SNA’s,  teachers and pre-school staff  to communicate more effectively.

Research shows that the appropriate use of such a communication tool accompanied by speech improves communication skills in general and can facilitate the development of spoken language.


Among those who have benefited from the programme is nine-year-old Seonaidh Roche from Co Clare.


Her mother Barbara said she was quite shocked to discover when Seonaidh was born with Down syndrome that she would more than likely experience a significant language delay. The prospect of not being able to communicate with her daughter saddened her.


Barbara recently trained as a Lámh Tutor, and now delivers Lámh training courses to parents and teachers.

“I completed a Lámh family course and was absolutely amazed that Seonaidh became interested in it straight away. Signing made her more attentive and she was easily able to understand what I was saying to her. Over time she learned to sign many words and we were absolutely delighted when she eventually started to say the words with the signs. As her words increased she dropped the signs but she still goes back to them from time to time if she is with a new person or in a new situation,” she said.


“Seonaidh began using Lámh from the age of six months and it was easy for her siblings to pick it up too. My advice to anyone who is thinking about it is to give Lámh a go, you will be surprised with the results,” she added.


Project manager at Lámh, Mary Cullen explains “For a person with an intellectual disability who has experienced difficulties with communication, being able to communicate using sign can make a vital difference to their lives.  It enables them to interact with other people, to express their wants and needs, and to build relationships. “


The new video resource has been developed as a support for families and other communication partners, who can now practice Lámh signs using these detailed video clips featuring close ups of some Lámh signs and demonstrations of the hand shapes used to make the Lámh signs.


Lámh is grant-aided by the HSE and is endorsed by the Irish Association of Speech and Language Therapists and Down Syndrome Ireland.


For more information go to www.lamh.org

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