I was one of the winners of Mencap’s New year, new me competition, to be in the advertising campaign for Mencap’s services. Now, I am in a video, talking about what I would like to do in 2012.
Making my mum happy and doing Makaton are very important to me, so those are the things I would like to concentrate on. Signing is always in my life and always in my heart. It’s my form of communication and I love to share it.
I was nominated by one of our friends, who is a doctor. I have been teaching her to sign and she said that I had really changed her life, so she decided to enter me in the competition. Then we got the phone call that I had won and someone came to our house to do the film. I loved it.
Our friend is hopefully going to organise for me to come and teach a whole group of doctors to use Makaton. I already teach sign language to PCSOs and police officers at South Yorkshire Police, students on a learning disability nursing course at the University of Sheffield and children at a local mainstream primary school.
Last time I went, I was teaching them to do ‘Little Red Hen’ in Makaton. Everyone clapped and I did a bow. Next time I go, I will teach them the Goldilocks Makaton rap.
People say that my Makaton is really good and that it’s much better when I teach them Makaton, because I use it all the time and it means so much to me. Some people have even said I should charge for my teaching.
That’s why we’ve decided to set up a Makaton business – me and my mum. That’s what I want to do this year. I don’t think there’s anyone else with Down’s syndrome who teaches Makaton. At the moment, we are working on getting a website set up.
A busy man
As well as teaching Makaton, I go to college to do my living skills course. I have just done my travel training and now I can get two buses to college and back. I also do talks for the students at the university, about what it’s like to have a learning disability and my hopes and dreams.
And every week, I go to the In the Boat Theatre Company. I am doing all the signing for our next performance, called ‘The Baker’. I love acting.
Plus, I am now a young ambassador for Mencap. I was asked by the Inspire Me project if I wanted to do it. I love public speaking, so I said yes. I have had some training and I was asked to do a presentation at a fundraising ball in Hull. It was really good. And I’ve been on the radio talking about my life.
So I am a busy man! Hopefully, this year, I will start my Makaton business, do more young ambassador work and carry on with college and my acting. I think my mum will be proud.