Jacob is five and lives in Lancashire with his family. His mum Tracy tells us, “Jacob was born with Down syndrome. He was born with a heart defect and went into heart failure so he had to have heart surgery at six months old.
“Now he’s doing really well. Jacob is very sociable and likes playing with his friends. He loves school, he goes in smiling and comes home smiling. The teachers and children love him. Even though he can’t physically tell me what he did, I know he’s enjoying it.
“Jacob has got a good sense of humour and enjoys making people laugh. He’s a little performer and is always full of energy. Jacob loves music and dancing so we often put music on and he dances around the room.
“Communicating with Jacob can be difficult. We sign to him using Makaton and that helps a lot with his frustration. Jacob has a good understanding, he knows what he wants, but he can’t express it. His Makaton is good and has improved a lot, although there are some signs which he makes up so you’ve got to know him to fully understand what he means.”
Last year, Tracy saw one of Family Fund’s Digital Skills workshops advertised on Facebook, and signed up to see how it could help Jacob with communication.
How Digital Skills helped
“I create social stories for Jacob to help him understand what we’re going to be doing and to help Jacob in social situations. I used to print the pictures off and show him, but the training taught me that I could use an app on my phone instead.
“The app allows you to put photos, audio and writing together to create a social story. It’s a lot easier this way as I can create them in about 10 minutes wherever I am, without the need of a printer. Jacob is a visual learner so this is very beneficial for him and has really helped with things like toilet training.”
“The digital skills training has helped stop some of the frustration that we previously experienced.”
“Creating social stories to show the process of social situations creates a sense of understanding and better communication between us.
“I have recommended the training to other parents and carers on the Down syndrome websites that I use.”
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