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About Makaton



to know

What is Makaton?

Makaton is a unique language programme that uses signs and symbols alongside speech, as well as facial expressions, eye contact and body language. Makaton supports the development of essential communication skills such as attention and listening, comprehension, memory, recall and organisation of language and expression. These skills are fundamental in developing wider communication skills such as speech and non verbal expressive communication.

Being able to communicate is one of the most important skills we need in life. Almost everything we do involves communication; everyday tasks such as learning at school, asking for food and drink, sorting out problems, making friends and having fun. These all rely on our ability to communicate with each other.

With Makaton, signs are used, with speech, in spoken word order. This helps provide extra clues about what someone is saying. Using signs can help people who have no speech or whose speech is unclear. Using symbols can help people who have limited speech and those who cannot, or prefer not to sign.

For those who have experienced the frustration of being unable to communicate meaningfully or effectively, Makaton really can help. Makaton takes away that frustration and enables individuals to connect with other people and the world around them. This opens up all kinds of possibilities.

What are the benefits of using Makaton?

Using Makaton:

  • Helps people to communicate their needs, wants, thoughts and feelings.
  • Helps others to understand a person’s needs.
  • Develops people’s attention and listening skills, their understanding of language and use of language (including spoken language).
  • Encourages social interaction and confidence in communication
  • Supports emotional development – people who are able to sign (when they are unable to successfully communicate verbally) will experience less frustration with communication which can lead to reduction in the use of behaviour to communicate.

The Makaton vocabulary

The complete Makaton Language Programme comprises two vocabularies:

  • a Core Vocabulary of essential words or concepts presented in stages of increasing complexity. The Core Vocabulary is taught first and is the foundation of the programme
  • a much larger, open-ended, topic-based resource vocabulary providing an enormous bank of further signs and symbols covering broader life experiences and used in association with the Core Vocabulary as required

Makaton symbols and signs are matched to all the concepts in the two vocabularies to be used with speech, the written word or on their own. They provide a visual representation of language which increases understanding and makes expressive communication easier.

Further information

For more information about Makaton please visit

TV shows and music to support you in learning and using Makaton can be found at and

Please follow EG (Training) Ltd on social media (Facebook, Instagram, X and TikTok) for up to date information and details of future Makaton courses.

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