A mum of four from Horwich is starting a new business adventure, teaching parents and babies British Sign Language (BSL).
Louise Donlan, a qualified British Sign Language practioner, has decided to run sessions called Baby Sign Bolton and Chorley, to enable parents, carers and babies in the area to learn BSL to support their communication.
Following on from the government granting British Sign Language legal recognition as an official language in the UK and this week being Deaf Awareness week, Louise wants to share her new adventure with the launch of her new business - and she is really excited.
Louise said: "The aim of babysign is to bring sign language to both hearing and deaf babies and their parents or carers.
"Classes also provide an inclusive environment for parents who are deaf to come and access songs and play led in sign language.
"A recent OFSTED review has revealed that the pandemic has negatively impacted on young children’s communication skills and language development.
"As the use of BSL signs within the home and early years settings can go some way to reducing this; my aim is to help bring this wonderful skill to the parents, carers and babies,young children of Bolton and Chorley.
"Having gained my British Sign Language (BSL) qualifications and worked within the Deaf community previously, I have an immense appreciation for this wonderful language and the benefits it can bring.
"It’s now time, with my youngest starting pre-school to take the leap of faith and launch my new venture!"
The first session of babysign launched last week (May 3) at Brazley Community Centre in Horwich.
It will continue to run for 10-week block sessions.
Further sessions are being finalised for June and July in Astley Bridge and Adlington.
Sessions will run term-time only and more classes will be offered from September onwards.
Louise said the classes will allow parents to better understand what their children need.
She said: "This 10-week block of sessions will enable parents, carers and their babies to start to learn BSL signs to support their communication together.
"Babies can understand signs and develop the required motor skills, far earlier than they learn to talk.
"Using BSL signs to support spoken language can help avoid the frustrations that arise when you don’t know what your baby wants and can make parenting that little bit easier.
"By learning BSL you are able to communicate with people who are Deaf and promote a more inclusive society and this is something I am very passionate about.
"I am absolutely thrilled to be able to launch babysign Bolton and Chorley.
"It's been a long-term dream to set up my own business and as it had to be put on hold due to Covid, I can't quite believe I've actually done it."
If you would like to book onto the babysign sessions, contact email@example.com.