Join Jonny Hero and Meet Miss Northern Ireland at the start line on 18TH September!

30 June 2016

Join Jonny Hero and Meet Miss Northern Ireland at the start line on 18TH September!

As the summer holidays loom and you're stuck with things to do in the bright summer evenings- why not sign up to take on a challenge which will help maintain that beach body and stay super summer fit?

All you need to do is join thousands of fellow runners at this year's Deep RiverRock Belfast City Half Marathon. It's really easy to sign up too! All you have to do is click on this link

But it’s not only you who’ll benefit from the challenge of a half marathon; as you will also be helping more children like Daisy and Lucy. With your help; we can ensure more children with a learning disability get to make friends, learn and play just like any other child at Mencap’s Nursery!

Daisy and Lucy’s story

Daisy and Lucy are both three years old and attend the Mencap Centre Nursery in Belfast. They took part in a photo shoot for Learning Disability Week 2016. Here their key worker, Lynsey Dempster, talks about the progress they have made at our Mencap nursery and their friendship which has helped their development over the past year!

Lynsey says:

Daisy and Lucy are both three years old and have just finished their year at the Mencap Centre Nursery.

In the nursery the children enjoy the soft play area, sign and singing classes, story time, and playground games. Daisy and Lucy have become great friends and always say hello to each other in the morning.  The two girls gravitate towards each other all the time, if there is a line for singing, soft play or puppet time- they will always move towards each other and play together.

The biggest changes in the children since they started at the Mencap nursery are their communication and mobility skills. Lucy was only crawling when she started and then used a walking aid, which made all the difference as she could then go over to Daisy whenever she wanted. Now they can both run to each other and play together more. 

Communication skills with learning new words or makaton signs really helps their friendship’s and their communications skills have improved so much that they can have a friendship with each other, they happily say this is my friend or make the Makaton sign for friends, which is holding the two hands together.

Friendships are important to the children. It’s a little bit of security for the children to have a friend, they see each other as the same, using the same sign language and other skills they have learned. The children mostly communicate using Makaton sign language for children who cannot speak very well along with a few words and the friends help each other to communicate.

Communicating is a huge barrier for children with a learning disability – some are still very introverted and shy or have no real awareness of other children around them. So they have really started to come out of their shells and interact with others. Having a friend gives you that support and confidence to go on to new schools and meet new people.

One day Lucy hurt herself and was crying and suddenly Daisy straight over to her, and just like we would do as adults comforting her, stroking her hair and making sure they are both ok. They both sing to each other the rhyming song ‘Friends’.