Monday 28th August is International Makaton Awareness Day.

Makaton is a language programme that uses signs, symbols, and speech to help people communicate. It is a multi-modal approach to communication, which means that it uses multiple channels to convey meaning. This can be helpful for people who have difficulty communicating in one way or another.

The signs in Makaton are based on British Sign Language (BSL), but they are simplified and used in conjunction with speech. The symbols in Makaton are pictograms that represent words or concepts. They can be used on their own or alongside the signs and speech.

Makaton is used by people of all ages who have communication difficulties. This includes people with learning disabilities, autism, Down’s syndrome, and other conditions. It is also used by people who have lost their speech due to an injury or illness.

Makaton can be a very helpful tool for children who have communication difficulties. It can help them to express their needs and wants, to participate in activities, and to build relationships.

Here are some of the ways that Makaton can help children:

  • Improves communication: Makaton can help children to develop their communication skills by providing them with a way to express themselves that is clear and easy to understand. This can help them to feel more confident and independent.
  • Reduces frustration: When children are unable to communicate effectively, it can lead to frustration and anxiety. Makaton can help to reduce this frustration by giving them a way to express themselves.
  • Promotes social interaction: Makaton can help children to interact with others more easily. This is because it allows them to communicate with people who do not know sign language.
  • Encourages early learning: Makaton can be used to teach children new words and concepts. This can help them to learn at a faster pace and to achieve their full potential.
  • Supports development: Makaton can support the development of children’s cognitive, social, and emotional skills. This is because it requires them to think about what they want to say, how to say it, and how to use the signs and symbols.

Here are some tips for teaching children Makaton:

  • Start by teaching the child the signs for basic words and concepts, such as “hello,” “goodbye,” “want,” and “eat.”
  • Be consistent with the signs you use.
  • Use Makaton in everyday situations, such as when you are playing with a child or asking them to do something.
  • Be patient and positive. It takes time for children to learn new things.
  • Use eye contact, body language and eye contact when signing.

Makaton is a powerful tool that can transform the lives of people with communication difficulties. The use of Makaton signing is becoming more commonplace in pre-school and Early Years settings as a way of helping young children develop their communication skills. It can give them a way to express themselves independently, which can help to reduce frustration and promote inclusion.

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