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Makaton

By: Jo Johnson - Updated: 22 Jul 2017 | comments*Discuss
 
Makaton; Communication; Signs; Symbols;

Makaton

Makaton is a method of communication using signs and symbols and is often used as a communication process for those with learning difficulties.

What Is Makaton?

Makaton was first developed in the UK in the 1970’s by a speech and language therapist and was devised as a way of increasing the ability to communicate in those who live with learning difficulties, such as those living with Autism and those with cognitive impairment.It is now very commonly taught to both those with learning difficulties and those without. Makaton is now being used in over 40 countries around the world and provides an excellent way of improving global communications between individuals.

How Is It Different To British Sign Language?

Makaton is a much simpler form of communication and uses common vocabulary that is used in everyday speech. It also incorporates the use of picture cards and ties in facial expressions with the word to produce more content in the shortest form.

Unlike British Sign Language, Makaton uses speech as well as actions and symbols. This encourages children to learn many different forms of communication which has shown good results in academic and social achievement by those who use it. It has even been proven to increase literacy and numeracy skills and encourages development of visual, recognition and identification skills.

As oral communication takes place, the person using Makaton identifies the key words and expresses these with gestures or signs. Symbols printed on cards are also used where appropriate and applicable.

Can Anyone Use Makaton?

Almost anyone will be able to learn and use Makaton as a communication technique as it uses different mediums of conveying information. Children enjoy learning and using it because it involves eyes, hands, pictures and gestures that can help them explain what they would like to communicate.

As babies develop, they often use signs and gestures to communicate what they want, such as a drink from the fridge, and most parents also use this method without realising it. For example, many parents and carers symbolise a drink using a hand to mouth action, or a spoon to mouth action when encouraging children to eat for themselves. Makaton is merely an extension of this, with specific actions, signs and symbols for each activity.

Parents and children can learn Makaton together as it can be fun, provide an excellent opportunity to spend time together and encourage development of the child and parent communication abilities.

Where Do You Learn Makaton?

Makaton can be learned from those who already use it and are competent and familiar with it, by attending a workshop or course or by using teach it yourself methods such as from DVD’s.When learning Makaton, it is best to try and use it as much as possible, even when communicating with those who do not use it or want to learn it. As with most things, practice makes perfect.

Makaton was introduced as a technique to help those with learning difficulties communicate. It uses a variety of actions, symbols, gestures, facial expressions and speech, identifying key words in common usage, to convey information effectively And simply.

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[Add a Comment]
@Jordi - you can find some sessions on You Tube.
Tony - 24-Jul-17 @ 2:48 PM
I'm soon to start a new job working with disabled children on a school transport service, I currently work on hospital transport for mental health dementia and elderly patients which has helped me understand so many people with disabilities and the chances are I may get some deaf children, so can I download any hand signs for me to practice, I am new to this so starting from scratch is vital for me to understand deaf children or adults. I have a guide on BSL but was told this makaton is far more simple to learn and a but more easy to communicate. I would like to download sign so that I can practice making sentences. Hope anyone can help.
Jordi - 22-Jul-17 @ 11:47 PM
Can you show me picturesign in makaton for ! Special Person ? Please?
Kaz - 8-Jun-17 @ 4:40 PM
I would just like to have a makaton id card cos I learned it at college and I just want a I'd card I tried everything to get one even in the speech and language therapist hospital
Don't have 1 - 11-Nov-16 @ 2:39 PM
wagg1 ima BNOC- Your Question:
My friends daughter has quite severe cerebral palsy combined with severe learning difficulties and yet she has been able to learn the very basics of Makaton such as please and thank you etc.It's amazing to watch her put these newly acquired skills into practise and she is so happy that she is understood

Our Response:
We are glad this has worked for her.
SignedLanguage - 1-Mar-16 @ 11:26 AM
My friends daughter has quite severe cerebral palsy combined with severe learning difficulties and yet she has been able to learn the very basics of Makaton such as please and thank you etc.It's amazing to watch her put these newly acquired skills into practise and she is so happy that she is understood
wagg1 ima BNOC - 29-Feb-16 @ 12:00 PM
i have struggled to overcome makaton with my friend how can i make her feel comfortable about it
shan - 25-Jun-15 @ 2:22 PM
i see where you are coming from however you cannot swear in makaton.
Leah - 21-May-15 @ 2:54 PM
I have to use makaton to and I know how to say please and thankyou. yet I would like to know how to swear.
LeahJOJOburns - 14-May-15 @ 2:26 PM
i have to use makaton to help my friend.
livvyrichards - 14-May-15 @ 2:19 PM
@Kaza - I'm afraid we don't hold video footage. You could try and do a search online and see if it pops up with anything.
SignedLanguage - 9-Feb-15 @ 2:31 PM
Do you have any video footage of the song 'I am Australian' using Makaton signs? I would like to teach my students.
Kaza - 7-Feb-15 @ 11:23 AM
@kelx - I have included a link to the Makaton charity which has produced some research findings here.
SignedLanguage - 11-Dec-14 @ 11:02 AM
what are the disadvantages and advantages of Makaton?
kelx - 10-Dec-14 @ 5:25 PM
I am Dyspraxia find it hard to commute can talk talk But can't shout or get words out that I want to say in groups of people Carry teady bears around with me me say mummy a lot of the time Hats iteams that are special find it hard to show epress angry Hurt ill un well. Or un happy or can't do something say yes a lot But find it hard to say no or help me Read buy something special magazine witch helps a lot Be could do with an passport book or communicate books Of my thoughts feelings words Kids books kids toys arts craftss Sets kids stuff athoye 30 years old helps me cope with the adults words As with out thoughts bits the adult words who be hard overdose ones as the adult wordjust got too much for me looking at adults kids boxs In eat drink places bowling ally Cimma Stickers symbols words pictures Dyspraxia broken left hip Heart problems Sight Hearing
Happy simle - 24-Mar-14 @ 9:08 PM
i have a grandson who is being tested for asperges, & we joined a group for special needs children, some of the children were using Makaton sign, which has made me want to learn to sign, so we all have a better communication with each other. x
sue - 1-Dec-12 @ 8:21 PM
My friends daughter has quite severe cerebral palsy combined with severe learning difficulties and yet she has been able to learn the very basics of Makaton such as please and thank you etc.It's amazing to watch her put these newly acquired skills into practise and she is so happy that she is understood.
TC - 24-May-12 @ 2:36 PM
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Latest Comments
  • Tony
    Re: Makaton
    @Jordi - you can find some sessions on You Tube.
    24 July 2017
  • Jordi
    Re: Makaton
    I'm soon to start a new job working with disabled children on a school transport service, I currently work on hospital transport for mental health dementia…
    22 July 2017
  • Kaz
    Re: Makaton
    Can you show me picture sign in makaton for ! Special Person ? Please?
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  • Don't have 1
    Re: Makaton
    I would just like to have a makaton id card cos I learned it at college and I just want a I'd card I tried everything to get one even in the speech and…
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