Makaton is a language program that uses symbols, signs and speech to enable people to communicate. It supports the development of essential communication skills such as attention and listening, comprehension, memory, recall and organisation of language and expression.

As I started to use Makaton more with Aara it got me thinking maybe I should enhance my knowledge. In June 2019, I started to research how I could improve my Makaton skills. I visited the Makaton charity website and boom, I found a beginners training workshop. The training session was spread over two-days – I was introduced to Makaton, taught how to incorporate signs in everyday life and I learnt to sign at sentence level using key words. Two weeks later I took the next training course called the “Follow Up” this was an intense course, here I learnt how to use symbols and translate signing and symbols. I really enjoyed these training sessions and after speaking to the tutor I decided to become a Makaton tutor myself.

In mid-July I applied to take part in the residential Makaton tutor training program. As part of my application I had to submit several assignments which were assessed before I could be accepted to the training. In early September I found out I was accepted and was ready to participate in the residential Makaton training.

The assessment was spread over 4 days in a residential center in Yorkshire. It was an intense week filled with lots of tears, laughter, stress and tiredness. The four days was split in two days of lectures and the final two days were a mix of practical/written examinations. There were about 16 of us going through the assessments, we were all working and helping each other, creating a bond to ensure we will be friends forever as these four days were an experience in itself. In late December the post arrived from the Makaton Charity and I ripped open the envelope and saw my certificate – I HAD PASSED!!!!

Makaton changed our world, it has enabled us as a family to communicate and has provided Aara with a way to express her needs, wants and desires. Speaking to other people on the course and other parents, this communication method empowers non-verbal people (not just children) to have a simplified way of communicating with others. I am sure there are many of you reading this that already use Makaton – let us know below how you use it to help communicate with others.

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