Lámh at DPETNS

Check out the Lámh Signs we’ve looked at already!

What is Lámh?

Lámh was developed in the early 1980s in order to ensure there was a standard manual or Key Word sign system in Ireland for those that require signs to support their communication. It is now used by many people throughout Ireland in their daily home, education and work settings.

A number of the staff in DPETNS have trained in the use of Lámh and Lámh signs are used frequently to support the communication of many of our pupils.


Many Lámh signs are based on or adapted from Irish Sign Language (ISL), the natural language used by the deaf community in Ireland. There are differences (the number of signs used is smaller, hand positions are less complex, finger spelling is uncommon and the emphasis in training is different.) This close link allows for progression on to more complex ways of communicating if required. If a Lámh user requires a larger vocabulary, the transition to ISL can be more easily made. This is why manual sign systems from other countries are not used here, as they are based on the sign language of their own country, e.g. Makaton, which is based British Sign Language (Some of you might be familiar with Makaton if you have ever watched Mr. Tumble on TV).


Children in DPETNS are learning to use Lámh signs in order to make communicating with and including all children in our school community more successful. Children from 2nd class in our school will post weekly videos to help the whole school community learn some Lámh. There are a few important rules thougLámh does not replace spoken word. It is a communication aid not a language system.

  1. When you are using lámh you should ensure your mouth is visible and you speak clearly while signing.
  2. Take your time and emphasise the key words you are trying to communicate.


Lámh also have a fabulous facebook page where they post lots of content and videos. It can be accessed here – https://www.facebook.com/lamhsign/ They also post details of upcoming training for anyone who might like to learn more. Tríona’s Tots is a local group for pre-schooler’s with Down Syndrome which was founded by a parent in our school, Tríona Cussen. They have put together a fabulous video for World Down Syndrome Awareness Day which is celebrated annually on March 21st. Their video includes lots of Lámh signs and it also features one of fabulous 2nd class pupils! You might like to watch that video here – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2EtZnCKWXK4.