SIGN language lessons have been taking place at a Huddersfield care home in aid of a resident who has difficulty communicating following a stroke.
Joan had a stroke several years ago and has been unable to speak since, therefore she has learnt to communicate through sign language and flash cards.
Her fellow residents at the home decided to learn a few signs so they could better understand what she was saying.
Reading a book on Makaton signs, resident Helen Amster, 99, has learnt to sign “phone”, Betty Stead, 87, has been practising “good/OK”, Dorothy Kneeshaw, 94, has been signing “cuppa” and Susan Duggal, 65, decided to read the whole book in a day.
Maria Mcfee, activities coordinator at Aden Mount Care Home, said: “Joan’s stroke has affected everything apart from her hearing. She has limited movement but when she puts her mind to it she can move her arms and open her hands.
“The ladies had been speaking to Joan through yes and no answers, but when her daughter told me she could sign a little and gave me a little book, I decided to teach myself and the residents.
“Joan points and tries her utmost to communicate through sign, but my ladies didn’t know what she was saying, so we thought we would learn a few signs to surprise her.
“They have picked up a little bit so far but we’ve had so much fun doing this they asked for it to be a weekly activity.
“Joan gave everyone a thumbs up when she saw us learning and communicating with her using sign language. She was really grateful for the effort everyone put in.”
Alongside learning sign language, Maria has been playing a pairs game with Joan, which involves pairing words such as “salt” and “pepper” or “fish” and “chips”.
They have also been taking part in a flash cards activity, which sees Maria and Joan learning to use images of fruit, facial features and flowers, among others, to communicate.
Speech therapy has also been taking place using proverbs, which involves Maria saying the first half of a proverb such as “the grass is always greener” and Joan completing it with “on the other side”.
Maria added: “I thought it would be a good idea for Joan as she finds it hard to pronounce certain words.
“Her family are absolutely over the moon as I have Joan saying, “yes”, “no”, “I love you”, and a lot of other things again. It has been a great success so far and hopefully we will continue to make progress so she can start to regain more of her speech.”