TWO young stars of a TV series helped unveil pioneering Welsh language teaching materials for children with special communication needs.
Nine-year-old Fflur Jones and five-year-old Mabli Davies have both featured on popular S4C series Dwylo'r Enfys (Rainbow Hands).
Both Fflur, from Brynrhydyrarian, near Llansannan, and Mabli, from Denbigh, were at the launch of the Welsh language Makaton teaching packs at the National Eisteddfod in Denbigh.
Makaton is a language programme that uses speech, signs and symbols to encourage communication.
The system is used by more than 100,000 children, many with learning difficulties, and adults.
Speaking at the launch, Children’s Commissioner Keith Towler said providing Makaton teaching resources in Welsh was an important step forward.
Fflur's mum, Bethan, 47, is a referral instructor in Denbighshire County Council’s social services department for adults with learning difficulties.
She said: “Fflur has just turned nine and has got speech but not sentences, although we can understand her perfectly well. She attends mainstream school in Denbigh where they use Makaton.
“We had to fight for speech therapy, there are hardly any Welsh speaking speech therapists.
“Dwylo’r Enfys has been marvellous in changing people’s attitude towards people with disability and Makaton has been part of that. Years ago many people with disability were kept in special schools. How society has changed.”
Dwylo’r Enfys (Rainbow Hands) is made by producer Nia Ceidiog, who worked with the Makaton Charity to develop the Welsh language resources.
She said: “The Cyw series Dwylo’r Enfys was historical in the sense it was the first time Makaton had been used publically in the context of the Welsh language and was a resounding success.
“We have also produced two DVDs.
“We have launched the material at the Eisteddfod and the website and materials will be ready in September when there will be Makaton courses available for people to use in the Welsh language.”
The launch, which included singing and signing by children using Makaton, was introduced by one of the stars of Dwylo’r Enfys, Heulwen, Ceri Bostock from Caernarfon.
The ground-breaking series has been shortlisted for a Rockie Award at the Banff World Media Festival in Canada and is in the running for a BAFTA Cymru award for best children's programme.
For more information visit www.makaton.org or a Makaton teacher or school in your area.