What is Makaton?
Makaton is a language programme that uses signs and symbols to help people communicate. It is designed to support spoken language; the signs and symbols are used with speech in spoken word order. Signs provide extra clues about what someone is saying and can help people who have no speech or whose speech is unclear. Symbols can help people who have limited speech and those who cannot speak, or prefer not to sign.
Makaton is flexible and can be personalised to an individual's needs and used at a level suitable for them. Children and adults can communicate straight away using signs and symbols once quickly learnt. Many Makaton users then drop the signs or symbols naturally at their own pace, as they develop speech. Using Makaton with individuals can take away frustration of being unable to communicate effectively and gives the ability for individuals to connect with other people and the world around them.
Especially for the individuals with communication difficulties (spoken, written, or hearing), Makaton gives the ability to share their thoughts, emotions and anything that requires communicating. It enables people to engage with songs, stories and more. It can even help people find their way around buildings.
Over 100,000 children and adults use Makaton signs and symbols. Many people start using Makaton as young children then naturally stop using the signs and symbols as they gradually no longer need them. However, some people will need to use Makaton for their whole lives.