On Tuesday 12th July Elm Court hosted a Makaton taster session with regional Makaton tutor Angela Henry.

What is Makaton?

Most communication is through speaking to others.  However, some people have difficulty with using speech and they need to use different ways to communicate, like using Makaton symbols and signs.  When we speak, we often use extra tools to help the person we are communicating with understand what we are saying.  For example, if we are asked for directions, we might point (gesture) or draw a picture.  These are clues to help provide more information. Makaton uses speech with signs (gestures) and symbols (pictures) to help people communicate.  We also use facial expression, eye contact and body language to give as much information as possible.

Signs and symbols give extra information which can be seen.  Research has shown that signs and gestures are easier to learn than spoken words.  This makes sense.  Babies use gestures before they can speak, to tell us what they want.  For example, they might point at the biscuit tin or hold out their arms to be lifted up.  Children and adults can use Makaton to let others know what they want, make choices, share information and understand more.  This helps build and develop important communication and language skills.

Elm Court staff and professionals from other local schools and nurseries had the opportunity to find out more about Makaton and its benefits, learn up to thirty signs and discuss methods of incorporating Makaton into the services we provide for the young people in our community. The session was a great success and we hope to host again in the future!