Parents have chance to vote for baby signing group

A BABY signing company which is popular with mums and babies in the Dromore area has been nominated for the ‘What’s On 4 2011 Junior Awards’.

Sign2Music, owned by Deirdre McLaughlin from Crossgar, has been nominated for ‘Best Local Activity’ for the Under-Fives, while one of its teachers, Alison Priddle, is a nominee in the ‘Most Outstanding Activity Leader’ category.

Sign2Music is Northern Ireland’s only baby signing company and classes take place across Northern Ireland, with the Ballynahinch class attracting a number of Dromore mothers, babies and toddlers.

As a busy mother-of-three herself - and qualified social worker - Deirdre enjoyed the benefits of signing with her own young family and she believes babies naturally use gestures to communicate long before they learn to talk.

“If parents or carers consistently show their child a sign when they say the word, that child will soon learn that both mean the same thing,” she says. “They cannot effectively use the muscles needed to speak until around 12 months of age, but they can use their hands to make the sign. Research has shown that babies who sign speak sooner than those who don’t.

“I am absolutely delighted that we have been nominated for these awards. I hope it raises awareness about the fantastic benefits signing can have in supporting development and communication for all babies and children.”

The award programme is now in its fifth year and celebrates the best activities from throughout the UK as nominated and voted for by parents and parents-to-be.

This year, the awards cover 18 different categories and have attracted a record 3,300 nominations - over 33 per cent more than in 2010.

Up until 6th May local parents can log on to vote for their favourite from all of the nominated groups which have qualified. Winners will be announced on 9th June at the Hilton Cobham at a champagne award ceremony.

Everyone who votes or nominates will be in with a chance to win two VIP tickets to the award ceremony and meet the finalists, presenters and other VIP guests.

For more information on Sign2Music see or follow Sign2Music on Facebook or Twitter.