Using Lámh

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

Lámh was developed in order to have a standardised, Irish-based manual sign system for those with intellectual disabilities and communication needs. Lámh is the accepted sign system for people with an intellectual disability in Ireland - endorsed by Down Syndrome Ireland and the Irish Association of Speech & Language Therapists.

With Lámh, speech is always used with signs and only key words in a sentence are signed. Lámh has 500 signs.

Why Use Lámh?

  • If their speech is unclear or limited, the Lámh user may be more easily understood when they use signs.  This encourages many to try new words and say more. Lámh users may be more easily understood when they use signs with speech. Use of Lámh signs may reduce frustration.

  • The person can see as well as hear what is being communicated.

  • Signing naturally encourages people to slow down a little so there is more time to work out the message.

  • Successful communication is very rewarding, and encourages further attempts to communicate.

  • It encourages eye contact and attention to movement; skills that are important for speech development. 

  • Research shows that the appropriate use of systems such as Lámh, can improve a person's communication skills and may support the development of speech.

* Read in greater detail the benefits of using Lámh