Who uses Makaton?
Makaton can be used by anyone, with any form of communication or language development difficulty. This includes, but is by no means limited to:
- Children and adults who struggle to speak and / or understand properly, for a variety of different reasons, for example:
- Down syndrome
- Cerebral Palsy
- Traumatic Brain injuries (motor vehicle accidents, strokes, aneurysms etc)
- Cognitive challenges
- Dementia sufferers
- People learning a foreign language. Did you know that learning language with gestures, of any kind, increases memory retention by up to 90%?
- Babies who haven’t learnt to speak yet. By using Makaton signing, they can learn to express their wants and needs before they can speak. They will stop signing as soon as they can make themselves understood using speech. In addition, babies that are at risk of developing communication or language challenges benefit from early intervention.
How Makaton Works
Communication does not just involve speaking. Just watch someone who is having a conversation; they will not only be saying words but they will also be using hand movements or gestures, facial expressions, eye contact and body language (posture and movement). All this is communication.
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 extended information as possible.
The Makaton South Africa signs are based on the signs of South African Sign Language (SASL).