Makaton is a unique language programme that uses symbols, signs and speech to enable people to communicate. It supports the development of essential communication skills such as attention and listening, comprehension, memory, recall and organisation of language and expression.
Being able to communicate is one of the most important skills we need in life. Almost everything we do involves communication; everyday tasks such as learning at school, asking for food and drink, sorting out problems, making friends and having fun. These all rely on our ability to communicate with each other.
With Makaton, signs are used, with speech, in spoken word order. This helps provide extra clues about what someone is saying. Using signs can help people who have no speech or whose speech is unclear. Using symbols can help people who have limited speech and those who cannot, or prefer not to sign.
Who does Makaton help?
Makaton has been shown to be useful for all sorts of people including those who struggle with understanding concepts, those who have poor literacy skills, including grammatical knowledge, and those with English as an Additional Language. By using Makaton, children and adults can take a more active part in life, because communication and language are the key to everything we do and learn.
Examples of people who benefit from Makaton include:
- people with communication difficulties
- people developing their language and literacy skills
- mainstream schools
- people looking after babies and young children
- all of us!
How do I learn Makaton?
The best way to start learning Makaton is to attend Level 1 training. It means that you learn with other people, share your experiences, receive feedback on your signing and symbol work and enables you to practise with others. It also gives you the opportunity to meet and build a relationship with a Makaton Tutor, who can help and support you in the future.
All Makaton training provides you with information about what Makaton is and how it can be used in different settings. You also learn signs and symbols from the Core Vocabulary to an appropriate level. The Core Vocabulary has the signs and symbols needed for everyday communication.
If you are not sure whether Makaton training is for you, try a Makaton Taster session. These short sessions are designed for people who are interested in finding out about Makaton and deciding whether or not to attend Makaton training. The Taster gives you a general introduction into what Makaton is and who uses it, with the opportunity to learn a few signs and symbols too.
Go to Find training to search for training in your area, or call the training team on 01276 606777 and they will put you in touch with a tutor near you.