What is Makaton?
The Makaton Language Programme was developed by the Makaton Charity. Makaton is a language programme using signs and symbols to help people communicate. It is designed to support spoken language and the signs and symbols are used with speech in spoken word order.
People with learning disabilities or communication difficulties may struggle to make themselves understood – and to understand others. This can provoke intense frustration, challenging behaviour and isolation, and act as a barrier to achievement.
Parents and carers can experience similar feelings of frustration and isolation, wondering how they will ever ‘get through’. Makaton takes away that frustration and enables individuals to connect with other people and the world around them. This opens up all kinds of possibilities.
With Makaton, children and adults can communicate straight away using the signs and symbols. For those who have experienced the frustration of being unable to communicate meaningfully or effectively, Makaton can be a revelation and a bridge to greater confidence and self-esteem.
Many people then drop the signs or symbols naturally at their own pace, as they develop speech. Makaton is highly flexible as it can be personalised to the individual’s needs and used at a level suitable for them. It can be used to:
- share thoughts, choices and emotions
- label real objects, pictures, photos and places
- take part in games and songs
- listen to, read and tell stories
- create recipes, menus, shopping lists
- write letters and messages
- help people find their way around public buildings
Today over 100,000 children and adults use Makaton symbols and signs, either as their main method of communication or as a way to support speech.