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What is Makaton?

Want to buy a coffee?
Need to know where the toilet is?
Would you like to tell someone how you feel?

Being able to express ourselves and share our thoughts with others is one of the most important things we do. But for some people with communication difficulties making themselves understood can be frustrating and isolating.
Makaton can help. 

Makaton is a communication system which uses signs made with your hands, simple symbols and speech to help people communicate. 

Using signs and symbols can help people who are non speaking, or whose speech is unclear, by providing visual clues to support the spoken words being used.

Makaton in action

Here is an example of Makaton being used to support the Give a Little Love campaign run by John Lewis in Autumn 2020.

For more Makaton in action videos visit:

  • Facebook
  • Instagram

Who can Makaton help?

Anyone experiencing communication difficulties

Whilst the most well-known example of Makaton is on CBeebies Something Special (the BBC Channel aimed at children 6 and under), Makaton is also widely used by people all ages who have communication difficulties.

Adults who are experiencing communication difficulties as a result of injury or illness, and adults with memory problems, may also benefit from using Makaton. 

Children and adults whose first language is not English can use Makaton to support their communication as they learn spoken English.

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How do I learn Makaton?


The best way to learn Makaton is to do some training
Come to one of my online or in person workshops

Level 1 covers the first 125 concepts from the Core Vocabulary - this is the 450 words we use most in everyday communication. It provides a general introduction to Makaton and includes ideas about how to start using Makaton in everyday situations at home, at school, at work, or when out and about.

Level 2 builds on what you learned in Level 1 and covers a further 125 concepts from the Core Vocabulary.

Levels 3 and 4 complete the Core Vocabulary with another 250 concepts.

They provide more extensive information on how to use Makaton and includes ideas on how to translate and interpret written information into Makaton signs and symbols.

Invite me to your setting or workplace 

I can teach your team Makaton either online or in person. 

If you want to introduce Makaton to your team a Taster Session is a useful place to start. This is a 90min general introduction to Makaton and covers approx 30 everyday concepts from the Core Vocabulary, as well as approx 15 signs and symbols which can be tailored to needs of your team/workplace.

Follow me on social media

I share lots of useful ideas about how to start using Makaton on social media - using signs and symbols to communicate about everyday activities; using signs and symbols with stories; using signs in nursery rhymes and songs; ideas for games and activities which use signs and symbols.

How many people use Makaton?

There are currently in excess of 2.2 million people in the UK with speech, language and communication difficulties.

Over 1 million of them use Makaton at home, at school, at work and in the community.

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