Page last updated at 23:30 GMT, Monday, 3 August 2009 00:30 UK

'Swine language' book for babies

Baby signing class
The book will help parents teach their children signs for 'pain', 'ill' and 'hot'

A book to help parents teach babies and young children sign language for swine flu symptoms has been launched by a Scottish childcare expert.

It includes the baby sign language for "hot", "cold", "pain" and "more water".

Author Yvonne K Lavelle said she hoped it would help babies and toddlers better communicate that they were feeling unwell.

It has been written in response to the ongoing global pandemic and will be available in the UK, USA and Canada.

Ms Lavelle, from Glasgow, who also runs a nanny agency, first became interested in baby sign language eight years ago.

She started running classes to help other parents learn how to communicate better with their children, and has since written a baby signing workbook.

When I started helping other parents to sign with their children I saw babies signing back within a few sessions
Yvonne K Lavelle
Kiddisign

She said: "I first discovered baby signing when I was looking for a sign for outside my nanny agency office and did an internet search for 'childlike signs'.

"I realised it had been used in America for over 20 years and I decided I had to learn this.

"When I started helping other parents to sign with their children I saw babies signing back within a few sessions. It was like a revelation."

Some nurseries encourage youngsters to use sign language to communicate simple things like being hungry or thirsty or needing to be changed.

Previous research has suggested that babies who used sign language were less frustrated.

The Swine Flu Baby Signs e-booklet contains about 30 signs including "ill" and "a hug".

Swine flu is caused by a strain of the influenza type A virus known as H1N1.

In the UK the infection has been found to affect younger people more due to it spreading quickly in schools and nurseries.



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