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Learning makaton

(24 Posts)
nutcracker Tue 11-Jan-05 17:32:39

After being gobsmacked by Ds (2) doing the signing to the hello song on Something Special, i have been trying to find out a bit more about makaton.

Can you do a course to learn makaton ???

Was already thinking of doing BSL and a childcare course, would i be better doing a makaton course or both ??? Sorry if this is getting confusing.

mcmudda Tue 11-Jan-05 17:42:49

Makaton is like simplified sign language originally designed for people with special needs, but now the basis for a lot of the baby signing courses that have become popular recently. There are definitely classes/courses around, but whethere they are part of a bigger qualification I don't know.

Makaton (as far as I understand) only uses a few gestures for a couple of words in a sentence, whereas BSL is a whole langauge.

Try a google? There's definitely an official Makaton site out there somewhere.

nutcracker Tue 11-Jan-05 18:22:54

Thanks mcmudda

I have looked at a couple of sites, which were helpful but didn't say much about courses.

So if i did a course in childcare and a course in makaton would i then be able to work as classroom assistant say in an sn school ???

Also another question sorry, my kids seem to be very interested in makaton too, is there any harm in letting my ds (2) learn it ??? Was wondering if it may slow his speech development down.
Have seen a nursery rhyme vid on amazon that uses makaton and was gonna buy it but not sure.



You can tell i don't know what i'm on about can't you

Dingle Tue 11-Jan-05 18:27:03

Take a look here

There are quite a few threads about this on the special needs section. My dd has SN and we have been signing with her from 6 months, she knows more than me now!

I would really recommend that all children should learn sign, it's so easy and not just children that have SN that have communication problems and also helps the integration of those children who do.....ramble....ramble....

Dingle Tue 11-Jan-05 18:28:48

Oh and have a look on the CBeebies site too! There is a "Something Special" section with printables, music,games....my 2 love it, especailly DD!

nutcracker Tue 11-Jan-05 18:32:13

Ahh thanks Dingle, will have a look now.

The kids really like the Something Special programme and Ds and Dd2 are getting quite good.

lockets Tue 11-Jan-05 18:34:05

Message withdrawn

nutcracker Tue 11-Jan-05 18:36:21

Ahh thanks Lockets, that would be great

BadHair Tue 11-Jan-05 18:37:48

Nutcracker - dp knows makaton as he used to use it when he worked with adults with learning difficulties. We have some photocopied sheets somewhere with different signs on - CAT me with your address if you'd like copies of them.
I'd not thought of teaching it to the children, but now I think it's a really good idea.

nutcracker Tue 11-Jan-05 18:39:36

Thanks Badhair, will CAT you now

Dingle Tue 11-Jan-05 18:45:00

With regards to worrying about it effecting your ds's speech- I really feel that you have no need to. I can only go by what I am told and how it has helped my dd. As long as you continue to speak alongside the signing, it just acts as an extension to the spoken word. Speech & Lang Therapist back this up too!
I know that you cannot "compare" any 2 children but a proffessional that works with my dd, has mentioned that there is another child, a week or so in age to my dd, who also has Down Syndrome. The parents decided not to teach him sign, he is now a very frustrated little boy of 3, who has no vocabulary, no sign, basically no communication whatsoever!! DD on the otherhand is very vocal, has a small but growing spoken vocab, is trying to string 3/4 words together and signs over 150 signs. To me that speaks for itself- I don't know how we would get by without it.
If you email Makaton they will send you an info pack and I am sure that all the courses were on that.
Good Luck

coppertop Tue 11-Jan-05 18:50:09

I agree that using signs can actually help language rather than hinder it. With ds2 (23mths) I've found that he is more likely to understand a word if there is some kind of visual clue. I have only been using a few signs with him but I've found that it has really boosted his understanding. As his understanding has increased so has his language.

nutcracker Tue 11-Jan-05 18:55:58

Well thats even beter then Dingle and CT.
Actually now you mention it he does also sing the words (in a fashion) for the hello song whilst doing the signing, so it is helping his speech.

I will send for an info pack too and the nursery rhyme vid from amazon.

sinclair Wed 12-Jan-05 14:12:36

To second what Dingle is saying, I believe signing (in our case Makaton as DD has Downs) really helps speech development. Our (NT) DS who is 28m younger than DD starting picking up signs at around a year - at a time when we were signing extensively with DD - and really benefited. I remember him sitting in a high chair signing 'more' and grunting a word that was clearly supposed to be more but without the sign even his mum couldn't have guessed. He has the appetite of an elephant and found that particular sign very useful I must say. But my point is that signing definitely enhanced his communication skills, he used a number of signs/grunts between 12/18m then went on to speak very early. I would never have thought of teaching him any signing - duh! - but bless him he picked it all up of his own accord and ran with it. I am a bit of an ambassador for Makaton now (can you tell?) and we still use it now to reinforce concepts with DD even tho she is getting her words.

We did a local authority course - I think it was free to parents and carers - so try council health/child development services or Surestart if you have it in your area as they may offer funding.

BadHair Sat 15-Jan-05 17:31:16

Nutty, they're on the way.

Bunglie Sat 15-Jan-05 17:37:37

Sorry I have not read all of this so I apologise if I am repeating something.

I had to learn Makaton as my dd was diagnosed with aphasic dyspraxia. She got very frustrated and the Makaton allowed her to communicate and relieve that frustration. However the Speech therapist stressed very strongly that when she signed she had to at least make an attempt to say the word. As I understand it from the courses I did when she was learning, you always use speech with the signs. However this was over 15 years ago so things may have changed.
Good luck in anycase. She now speaks perfectly and stopped signing when she was about 7 or 8.

morningmayhem Sat 15-Jan-05 17:56:25

have a look at makaton website

amynnixmum Sat 15-Jan-05 18:05:50

Hi Nutty, The little boy I childmind has profound verbal dyspraxia and I did a course in signalong (which is based on bsl and makaton). Basically he and I learnt together as he didn't go to a speech therapist until he was 2 1/2 and didn't get any real help till he was nearly 3. As he and I began signing both my ds who is the same age and my dd who is a couple of years older learnt quite a few of the signs. It didn't hinder their language at all and was really nice for my mindee. He is now nearly 5 and his spoken language has come along amazingly. BSL will be harder to learn but if you are interested in it anyway I think that it would be invaluable as makaton and signalong both use lots of signs from BSL.

Casmie Sat 15-Jan-05 18:09:03

Sorry for butting in - but wondered if those experienced in Makaton could advise on how you deal with names?

Starting with some very basic signs for ds2 (as baby signing) but wondered how to refer to his brother by name (rather than just using the sign for brother). Do you just use the first initial?

amynnixmum Sat 15-Jan-05 18:10:31

My mindee tends to sign sister whilst trying to say her name. For other people he uses the first letter of their name.

onlyjoking Sat 15-Jan-05 18:16:18

nutty see if you can do a makaton course then if you like it you can go onto do bsl, i have done both and lots of signs are the same, sadly if you dont use it you lose it, CAT me if you want anymore info

Bunglie Sat 15-Jan-05 18:20:56

We were encouraged with regards to names that if someone say wore glasses, then to use the sign for glasses, or had something unique about them, if not then to use the initial of their Christian name, but the alphabet is not always the easiest for them to learn when very young.
HTH.

Casmie Sat 15-Jan-05 18:25:24

Thanks for that - maybe I will just use the sign for brother then while saying ds1's name

Dingle Sat 15-Jan-05 18:51:40

Casmie, I use the sign for "J" followed by the sign for brother simply because we know quite a few people who's initail is J!
It has worked out quite well for my dd (she is 3 and has DS) who's fine motor skills aren't quite up to coping with some of the "finer signs" IYSWIM! She can't manage the sign for "j" perfectly, but her "brother" sign is perfect.
I think of this to influence my choice in name signs.
You can used various ways to sign a name if anyone is interested I do have a page from 1 of my "Singalong" manuals which may help.

Sinclair- LOL about being an ambassador for Makaton. I feel a bit like that every time someone mentions sign or Something Special-there I am ranting and raving about how good it is. But it has truely come from my heart, I really can't imagine how different our lives would be if we hadn't learnt it!

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