Makaton is a signing system that aims to help language development. Many people think that signing can prevent language development, however hearing the word and seeing the visual cue helps children identify and recognise words more easily, which in turn helps them to understand what has been said to them. Children will often copy and then use the signs to help them to communicate.
Makaton gives signs for key words within sentences rather than a sign for every word and having it's own language like in British Sign Language. The signs are used when a word is said and gradually a link is made between the word and sign. e.g. gesturing drink and saying “drink” at the same time. Eventually the sign is phased out and the word is used on it's own.
Makaton is used more and more within nurseries and children's settings and even on TV programmes such as Mr Tumble. (for further information please visit – www.makaton.org.uk)