Resources: A further introduction to Makaton

by NicciLouise

Due to the interest in Makaton, following my previous article: where I introduced you to the charity and informed you about some of the free resources they have on their website. I have made Makaton the entire focus of this article and included further free resources for you to get you started.

The Makaton Language Programme helps adults and children communicate when it would otherwise be difficult for them. Many of the signs are similar to that of BSL and thus babysign; however it is important to remember that it is not a language like BSL which has its own word order, grammar etc. With Makaton we sign while we speak sentences to link a visual clue with the spoken word. If your child has hearing difficulties then please do not start using Makaton signs and seek assistance from your doctor or speech and language professional first.

Redheaded child mesmerized.

First stage signs should be introduced gradually before stage two signs.

Your local community team, health visitor, and your child’s GP will also be able to assist with starting this programme.

In the mean time here are some tips on introducing Makaton signs.

1) Always ensure your child can see your hands and say the word clearly at the same time [1].

2) Use facial expression, hand placement and eye contact to give further meaning and context [1].

3) Be consistent and persevere. For example every time you give a biscuit use the sign  [1]

4) Make the process stress free and involve friends and relatives so they too can communicate [1].

Lastly, start with just a few signs and ones that will allow your child to express their most basic needs [1].

It is also a good idea to introduce the sign alongside a picture of said item; it is important to note here that usually children or adults are able to link solid items to an event before photographs. For example If you are teaching the sign drink use their cup  as a visual prop alongside the sign. The cup could even be a miniature toy cup that you can give them to feel or hold.

If your child would cope well you can use photographs of the object, which I suggest you laminate to make them last longer, and then later color drawings. Symbols can also then be used. Compared to photos or pictures they are harder to relate to said item, or event, but for many children they remain easier to use than the word alone (either written or verbalised).

I have included pictures of two signs for you here alongside their correlating symbol card. You can learn the sign and introduce it alongside a photo or object (as above) and then gradually swap over to the symbol at the correct speed for your child. I chose these signs specifically as they are stage one signs that allow you to have two-way dialogue with your child about a basic need.

I am sure it wont take long for you to see the benefit of Makaton signs! There are lots of books out there for you, but why not contact The Makaton Charity directly to see what resources and courses they offer? As a person who has used their resources caring for children and has been in contact with them personally I recommend this avenue highly! They are very friendly to email to ask for help with any question at all. I have included all their details in the reference section of this article. They are here for you!

The Makaton Charity is a self-funding charity that needs to raise money to continue their support of people with communication difficulties. Not only do they offer taster sessions and training workshops, where you can learn alongside a tutor and meet other people who want to learn Makaton, but they also sell vocabulary collections, books and DVD’s to help you and your family communicate and thus laugh together more!.

How to sign: Drink

drink symbol

‘Sign/Symbol used with the kind permission of the © The Makaton Charity 2012 [3}

The symbol: Drink

(this can be printed off and laminated)

drink sign

‘Sign/Symbol used with the kind permission of the © The Makaton Charity 2012 [3}

How to sign: Finished

sign finished

‘Sign/Symbol used with the kind permission of the © The Makaton Charity 2012 [3}

Symbol for finished

(print this off and laminate to help it last)

symbol finished

‘Sign/Symbol used with the kind permission of the © The Makaton Charity 2012 [3}

Still want more?

Only because you asked so nicely… here is a description of some further Makaton signs for you to get excited about learning with your tutor.


Give a thumbs up; use both hands for ‘very good’ [1]


Hand as fist (palm midline) with little finger up; both hands for ‘very bad’ [1]


Wave once right [1]


Wave hand side to side [1]


Point once downwards at your feet with first finger [1]


Point over at the object/place/thing with first finger [1]


 a hand raised and pushed forwards with the thumb and fingers outstretched [2]


clenched fist waggled from left to right a few times [2]

I hope you have found this useful. ! Don’t forget to click ‘follow’ so that you don’t miss out on up coming resources and articles on Picture communication.


1) Pollard, T (2010) My first makaton symbols and signs: Book 1 Tipi publishing

2) Learning Makaton signs [www] 2013

3)  The Makaton Charity, Manor House, 46 London Road, Blackwater,      Camberley, Surrey GU17 0AA, UK
Tel: 01276 606760 Fax: 01276 36725
Email: Website:



One thought on “Resources: A further introduction to Makaton

  1. Pingback: Baby sign, BSL and Makaton resources | Honey, I'm lost with the kids!

Make a comment or start a debate: I read and reply to them all!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s