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What is it?/ Headline information

Makaton uses signs, symbols and speech to help people communicate. Signs are used, with speech, in spoken word order. This helps provide extra clues about what someone is saying. Using signs can help people who have no speech or whose speech is unclear. Using symbols can help people who have limited speech and those who cannot, or prefer not to sign.

Makaton is extremely flexible as it can be personalised to an individual's needs and used at a level suitable for them. It 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 and shopping lists
  • write letters and messages
  • help people find their way around public buildings

Today over 100,000 children and adults, use Makaton symbols and signs. Most people start using Makaton as children then naturally stop using the signs and symbols as they no longer need them. However, some people will need to use Makaton for their whole lives.

What are the aims?

Makaton is a language programme using signs and symbols to help people to communicate. It is designed to support spoken language and the signs and symbols are used with speech, in spoken word order. With Makaton, children and adults can communicate straight away using signs and symbols. Many people then drop the signs or symbols naturally at their own pace, as they develop speech.

How is it used / delivered/ who is responsible?

MAKATON is embedded in school life at Strathmore. All staff use MAKATON throughout the school day in lessons, snack times and play times. There is regular training for staff on MAKTON, we keep our knowledge up to date with ‘Sign of the week’ where staff and students will learn a sign and use it throughout the week.

SALT are responsible for the training of staff, keep an eye out for training dates if you are interested in a MAKATON course.

Who are the people I need to talk to for more information / support?


Can I use it at home?

  • Yes, if MAKATON is appropriate for your child please continue its use at home. Ask your teacher if you are not sure if your child uses MAKATON & for more support.
  • The children’s TV programme ‘Something Special’ uses MAKATON and is a great way for you to get involved with MAKATON at home.

Further reading / useful links

Singing hands, songs with MAKATON signs. see events page for performances.