Skip to content ↓


Makaton is a unique language programme offering a structured multi-modal approach for the teaching of communication, language and literacy skills. The main objective of using Makaton is to encourage the understanding of speech and wherever possible to develop expressive speech.

This multi-modal approach [use of signs and symbols] where one mode facilitates another, has been shown to increase opportunities for personal expression and development, it encourages participation in interaction and socialization and increases access to education which as a school we take very seriously.

Makaton is used each and every day in our school. It is something that everyone is taught including school students and staff, mealtime supervisors, office staff, management, speech and language therapists, physiotherapists, bus drivers, escorts and our parents too.

Makaton uses signs and symbols which provide a visual representation of language which increases understanding and makes expressive communication for our students. They are a fantastic resource for teachers and support staff to use for assemblies, outings, choices and of course communication in any lesson, within the national curriculum.

Talking does not just involve speaking. Watch someone talking, they will not just be saying words but they will also be using hand movements or gestures, facial expression, eye contact and body language. All this is communication. Makaton uses speech and gesture, facial expression, eye contact and body language. Makaton uses speech together with a sign [ gesture] and / or symbol [picture] for example:

Makaton bus

A symbol is a picture used to represent a word.

Makaton sleep

The picture representation is simple and easy to remember.

Mapledown School's  Makaton tutors:

School Office - 0208 455 4111