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Byline: FRANK PETERS

AN IRISH couple is giving a whole new meaning to "baby talk".

Anthony McDonough, 33, and Emily, 25, are teaching parents how to communicate and bond with their babies as young as six months old through special sign language.

''When a child learns how to speak, it opens up a whole new world of communication, but when they're babies there isn't the luxury of speech and that can be very frustrating for baby - and parent,'' said Emily.

''It's very frustrating for an adult at any time if they're trying to get their message or point across and they can't. Imagine what it must feel like if you're a baby.

''It's no wonder they kick, scream, ball their eyes out and have tantrums,'' she said, from her home in Sutton Coldfield, West Midlands. ''Hearing babies from as young as six months, can be taught some of the most basic signs,'' said Anthony. Their 18-month-old son Freddie knows 40 different signs including those for food, drink, dog, cat, and can communicate his needs and wants without any drama.

Emily, originally from Inchicore, Dublin said the key to the success is repeatedly sounding the word the sign represents.

''Then the switch from sign language to speech becomes an effortless process when the child is ready," she added.

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Publication:Sunday Mirror (London, England)
Date:Mar 13, 2005
Words:224
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