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I read with interest the op on Makaton and thought that I would provide the low down from the point of view of an educationalist. I teach in a Special School where some children do use Makaton as a means of communication. The Makaton Vocabulary Makaton is a complete language programme which is widely used in this country and is fast being introduced to a number of other countries such as Australia and Hong Kong. The scheme promotes language development and caters for a range of people with learning difficulties. Originally designed to provide communication for the deaf with learning difficulties, Makaton has been revised and now covers the needs of children and the community as a whole. It is used with both adults and children who may or may not also have a physical impairment. It is also successfully used with adults who acquire speech and language disorders folowing illness such as strokes. Makaton has a core vocabulary which is signed by using the hands while at the same time speaking the word and accompanying all of this with facial expression and body language. Sounds tricky but you soon get the hang of it!The words are taught in stages with emphasis initially being on essential words. Therefore in stage 1 you learn to sign toilet, bed, drink etc. As you progress through the stages the signs can be linked together to form short phrases and sentences. When signing it makes no difference whether the signer is left or right handed as long as the preferred hand is used consistently. There are no guidelines specific to the size of the signs and this comes down to personal interpretation. The thing I like about Makaton is that there is reasoning why most of the signs are made in such a way. For example for Doctor you sign taking a pulse, lady involves you drwing with a straight finger on your cheek symbolising a bonnet string. All of these symbols make the signs easier to remember and interesting to learn
. Makaton also has its own alphabet so that you can finger spell any words needed such as names. I sign with several children on a regular basis and find that Makaton provides them with something to hold on to that perhaps they would miss in normal speech. It offers these children a way of communicating and a chance to leave their silent world behind. Because most of the signs are so obvious, other children who are not signers also pick up on key words too enabling them to communicate with their peers. Line drawings also support the use of Makaton. The signs are standardised so that there is no confusion to Makaton user. Courses are run on a regular basis at local colleges. I hold Makaton in the highest regard and I'm sure you do too if you have ever encountered a user. Thanks for reading.
Hi I would first like to introduce why I used Makaton. When my 2 sons were younger both had speech delays, which caused problems with communication, they could not ask for things or tell me when they needed something. I was refered to a group called Portage which are really good, they taught me the basics of Makaton, then I went on a course to learn more about it. What is Makaton? Makaton is a way of communicating with children and adults with learning dissabilities though speech, gesture,facial expressions, eye contact and body contact. When we talk how many of use use our hands automatically not realising eg when we say big we hold our hands out to immitate how big. This is like Makaton a sign for drink is your hand so that it looks like you are holding a cup. Makaton was 1st used in the 1970 s to help people communicate who had speech difficulty and it is now used in over 40 countries worldwide. Makaton is not just hand movents like sign language but it can also be symbols wrote down on paper for eg a ? with a - underneath means where. Makaton only uses basic signs and symbols everyday ones like Mummy, door, Cat ect. Facial expressions are a big part of Makaton for eg if someone asks where? they have a confused expression. If they are happy then a smile ect. This sign language is really great and helped my kids communicate with me. also it never stopped them talking as now I can't shut them up lol. There is a lot more to Makaton which I can not really show you ie the symbols ect. So please take a look at there website the address is http://www.makaton.org/about/about.htm. Thanks for reading this