Accessing Lámh Training in North-West Dublin: a joint HSE and Special School collaboration

Lámh training is available for families, carers, health and education professionals through a variety of Lámh courses. Lámh tutors are formally trained by Lámh and accredited in running courses. As well as being able to attend Lámh training, families and staff members and Lámh users can access tools such as the Little Lámh app for iPad, the Lámh-a-Song nursery rhyme DVD and Lámh Signs Online to support their Lámh use.

Ciara Ni Raghallaigh is a Senior Speech and Language Therapist (SSLT) based employed by the Health Service Executive in North-West Dublin. She works in the HSE Disability Service and provides input to Scoil Chiarain which is a special school for children who have a mild intellectual disability in Glasnevin, Dublin 11. Pupils are between 4 to 18 years of age. The Lámh sign system was introduced into the school in 2008 with a pupil who required Lámh support. At that time Lámh training was provided to education staff in the special school. The school funded Ciara (SSLT), Carol Lynam and Mary Smullen (Special Needs Assistants) to complete Lámh tutor training. Together, we have run Lámh training courses in Scoil Chiarain each year including Lámh Family Courses and Module One Courses.

When Lámh devised new training courses, Ciara ran these new Lámh courses in Scoil Chiarain. These included a “Little Lámh” course, a Part 2 Family Course and a Module 1 Add-on for communication partners of children. We also ran a Lámh Family Course (day and evening option provided) and a Module 1 course. The SLT department is very grateful to the special school for the opportunity to run day, evening and sometimes weekend courses for people who want to train in Lámh. The courses are open to people from the locality, the Dublin region and from all over Ireland to attend (if they can’t source a Lámh course locally).

A family who attended training in Scoil Chiarain said:

“We are using Lámh at home and my other children are using signs to communicate with their brother who has autism and an intellectual disability”.

A pre-school staff member said:

“The child in our pre-school is delighted I learned Lámh signs so we can communicate successfully”.

Comments from Teachers included:

“I use Lámh with all the junior infant class as well as the child with special needs and we all use some signs on a daily basis”.

A Public Health Nurse said:

“I can now use Lámh signs in my clinics with children who have special needs”.