How can Makton be used to enable more effective classroom communication and provide better access to the curriculum?
What is Makaton?
Makaton is a visual language tool that helps children who struggle with communication to express themselves and participate in social activities. It is designed to support spoken language and uses signs, symbols, and gestures to help children understand and communicate.
Makaton can be used by anyone who struggles with communication, including those with learning disabilities, autism, or speech and language difficulties. It is often used in educational settings to promote inclusive learning environments and ensure that every child can participate in the learning process.
Makaton involves the use of signing, symbols, and speech to aid communication. Signing is a key component of Makaton and involves the use of hand gestures and movements to convey meaning.
The signs used in Makaton are based on British Sign Language (BSL), but simplified and adapted to make them easier to learn and use. By incorporating signing into communication, Makaton helps to bridge the gap between those who struggle with speech and language and those around them, making communication more effective and inclusive.
The world is moving towards inclusive learning environments. Ensuring that every child participates in the learning environment is our responsibility as educators. When a child struggles with communication, they wish to participate and develop a regular social life. But they struggle to express themselves and deal with others.
What are the options for dealing with those children? How can you guarantee their involvement in the educational environment? A visual language tool called Makaton can help childrern communicate and express themselves. What exactly is Makaton? How does it operate? Who might benefit from it? This article will provide answers to all of these topics.
What is Visual Language?
Visual language is a way of communicating by using visual elements. It assists students in perceiving, understanding, and comprehending through the use of visual aids.
Because visual communication is attractive to the eye, it is an effective way to communicate ideas.
Visual languages represent everything that can be seen, not just digital equipment. A map is an excellent example of visual communication since it has forms, colors, and texts that the reader can decode with their eyes.
The Makaton Language Programme, one of the visual communication methods, will be discussed in this article.
How does Makaton help learners?
Makaton is a communication system based on the use of signs and symbols. The Makaton program assists children in improving and developing their communication skills.
The signs used in British Sign Language and the language of the Deaf community formed the foundation for the Makaton programs' symbols.
Communication is a necessary tool in our daily lives. It is essential for everyone to communicate in order to meet their needs. Education is one situation where communication skills are required.
A child has to learn to communicate to be able to ask for food, ask to use the restroom, make friends, solve problems, and participate in class. Yet, some people find it challenging to communicate; as a result, sign language can assist with several communication issues.
Makaton can be customised according to the person's needs and used at a level that is appropriate for the person's abilities. After a child can express themselves orally, many people gradually stop using signs or symbols.
The following sections will go over how the Makaton language program works.
How to use the Makaton Programme
We frequently communicate with gestures without even realising it. Our brains recognize everyday movements quickly and use them to develop our thoughts and ideas.
Makaton signs are based on a variety of hand gestures, which is the main distinction between Makaton and other communication systems. It makes it simpler for people to use this tool for regular communication.
Unlike British Sign Language, which has its own sentence structure and grammar standards, Makaton gestures are easier to use and follow while speaking in regular English sentences.
Makaton is useful for language learning because the signs you learn directly translate into spoken English. For example, pointing the hand towards the mouth while saying "food," "hungry," or "eat" indicates that someone is eating.
Makaton has a core vocabulary of approximately 450 topics and a resource vocabulary of over 11,000 items. As technology develops, these figures will continue to rise. The Makaton method also includes detailed line drawings to help us understand the terms in our vocabulary.
Makaton symbols help students understand how objects, feelings, and actions appear in the real world. Some Makaton users may carry a book or sheet of symbols to help provide background for what they are saying to people. For example, if they want to ask for "food," they may point to a picture of a plate, knife, and fork.
Makaton signs can be used at several phases, such as:
- Functional meaning: where a single sign represents a complete thought.
- Two or three represented keywords are used in a sentence.
- In a sentence, every word—including grammar terms and word punctuation.
Each Makaton symbol follows a set of three essential design principles:
- The signs should be visually appealing, as they are required to communicate the concept they represent.
Here is an example of the use of greeting signs in Makaton and how they relate to real-world expressions:
- The signs should be simple enough to be drawn by hand and used in a way similar to writing.
Here is another example demonstrating how to create the Makaton sign by drawing:
- The signs should reflect language concepts in order to encourage the growth of language structure.
Makaton signs focus on providing:
- Stability: The symbols are unchangeable, unlike signs and words that disappear.
- Meaningful: The character usually matches the object it stands for, such as a toilet or television.
Makaton is not intended to replace or slow down someone's learning of spoken English. Instead, Makaton gives everyone the tools to participate in the dialogue and offers some valuable stepping stones in the language learning process.
Who uses Makaton?
One of the most popular language programs in the UK for people with learning or communication challenges is Makaton. Parents, siblings, friends, instructors, and medical teams who treat individuals who have communication issues can use Makaton.
Users of Makaton:
- Autism: Autism can affect a child's speech, language development, and social communication skills. Children with autism may take longer to acquire language than other children of their age, and they may also experience selective mutism and have difficulty understanding or using spoken language. Makaton can help autistic people communicate. Children and adults with autism can enhance their language skills and expand their comprehension abilities by using Makaton. Makaton can help children with autism communicate independently by using signs and symbols. Many people with ASD naturally stop using signs and symbols as their speech abilities improve.
- Cleft lip & palate: Children with a cleft palate have difficulty creating sounds, getting the right volume or phonation, and having eating and drinking issues. Most children with cleft palates will require a speech therapist. Cleft palates affect the area at the back of the throat, which can lead to nasal-sounding voices and speech issues. The Makaton signs can make it easier for children with cleft lip and palate to communicate with others. Posters are used in conjunction with speech to provide additional visual support for children who cannot speak or whose communication is unclear.
- Language development disorder: A specific linguistic disability, also known as developmental language disorder (DLD), is a speech, language, and communication disability that affects how young children understand and use language. If a child has communication difficulties, Makaton may help them communicate their ideas.
Every child has the right to learn and the right to take part in society. A child who struggles with learning should not be asked to do tasks that are beyond their ability. The main goal should be to give the child the tools to engage with others and participate in the community. It is a basic human right to give children a supportive environment to help them deal with their challenges.