What is Makaton?

Makaton is a language programme that uses signs and symbols to support people who have difficulties with learning and communication. The signs are derived from British Sign Language.

Makaton provides people with extra clues as to what is being said by using signs. It is used in mainstream and specialist settings to support and promote communication skills, and can be used with people of all ages. Today over a 100,000 people use Makaton to support their communication. 

Makaton is very flexible and 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.
For more information visit the Makaton Charity website.

Who is Makaton for?

Makaton can be used to support those who have difficulties with:
  • Understanding of language
  • Expression
  • Social interaction
  • Attention and listening
  • Literacy
Makaton may be used  for those with no speech, or to support individuals with unclear speech, and/or those reluctant to communicate verbally or using other means. Communication partners alway speak and sign at the same time to provide learners with a clear language model.

Some individuals may only need to use Makaton temporarily; others will use it as a lifelong communication system. It is used to support individuals to develop and use speech to express themselves.
Makaton Signing Resources

Here are some useful downloads for Makaton signing vocabulary

No Pens Day Activity Packs

Every year, the Communication Trust encourages schools to put down their pens, and run a day of speaking and listening activities for No Pens Day Wednesday.

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