Makaton uses visual clues to help communicate words, instructions and questions. It became well-known thanks to a popular programme on CBeebies, Something Special. Mr Tumble has helped to introduce Makaton to the masses resulting in parents and children being able to communicate in a whole new way that compliments their natural speech development.
A lot of the signs used in Makaton look like the activities or the different objects they’re being used to represent. The actions of the signs are beneficial too, as they help to describe the action of the word. For example, when you use the sign for ‘to wash’ the actions shows washing something.
Symbols provide information about the word meanings, the advantage of this method is the symbol stimulates the visual memory longer than the spoken word does, which is great for older babies. The baby is able to see the symbol and therefore understand more of what is being expressed, and as the symbols take slightly longer it provides the child with longer to work out what is being communicated to them.
Makaton is fantastic when it comes to helping children communicate before they have the required verbal skills. The ability to express what they want and need to say reduces frustration for the children and the adults. These signs are linked into early language development. Before a child can speak they use crying, facial expressions, eye contact and socialising to communicate. As time goes on and development increases they begin to point, play, vocalise and use gestures and these skills are necessary so that speech is then able to follow. With Makaton the signing is used to reinforce these skills and expand on their communication skills.
Have you tried Makaton with your baby? If you haven’t already we recommend watching Something Special with Mr Tumble for a great introduction into this excellent form of sign language.
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