It has been an uphill struggle getting the little one to use the toilet. She had sat on it a few times, tinkled a couple of times and seemed generally nonplussed about the whole procedure. And didn’t return to it.

This summer, because she is four and – save for the fact that we are deferring her a year – would be entering Primary School, and because moving house wasn’t upheaval enough, I have managed to get her onto the toilet fully – ones and twos – and reliably. 

And I’ve been teaching her the Makaton sign for toilet because it’s easier than the BSL one.

How do I know she knows the sign? Because she uses it as an excuse to get out of bed, peeking out from her bedroom door, touching her shoulder with one finger.



This is probably where I should explain the purpose of this blog. The background to it.

My daughter is nearly four and is still almost completely non-verbal. We have lots of professionals involved: Portage, Consultant Paediatricians, Speech and Language; she’s being assessed for the autistic spectrum. And being a “rising five” in September, albeit only just, we’re looking at the prospect of fulltime schooling. Our current plan is to defer her entry to school for a year because of her language difficulties which have then caused delay in progress (or at least delay in expressing her progress) elsewhere. We’re also looking at an Education Health and Care Plan – formerly known as a Statement of Special Educational Needs.

And so we’ve had a lot of professionals asking us about her language. And it transpires that she uses language differently in different contexts. “Inconsistent,” say pre-school; “Code switching,” I thought. It appears that her language use with me is richer and more confident than with anyone else.

She has some very limited verbal words; she can produce a number of onomatopoeias; she has a wider range of signs which I have taught her – I’ve primarily self-taught myself British Sign Language from thd internet. Speech and Language suggested Makaton but there were very limited resources for that, at least that I could find.

Personally, I’m also interested in how those two languages (verbal and sign) interact: she seems more compliant to signed instructions than verbal ones!

So, this blog is generally serving a number of roles but two main ones: firstly, to celebrate her progress which I think is rapid; secondly, a record of her verbal and signed vocabulary. It’s tricky sometimes to remember what she can do when put on the spot by professionals!