J has had a real boost in his communication lately. He has started to use more signs (and not just good ones) and saying clearer words. He still needs to be prompted but if it’s something he really wants/needs then he can certainly give it a go.
I really believe that Makaton has encouraged J to talk. It burst that bubble of silence that surrounded him. He could use his hands to tell us what he wanted and this meant to learnt that communicating got him what he wanted. This then led to speaking…or attempting to. I’ll admit most of the words are only clear to those who really know J, and speak to him regularly. But it’s a great start. He even said “mama-ar” (Grandma’s car) which dropped our jaws completely.
How we started Makaton
We started by choosing key words that had meaning to J. This was mainly food. Both me and Daddy would use it as often as we could. We then helped J by doing ‘hand on hand’ so the actions would start to become muscle memory. We also put Something Special on TV, brought some Mr Tumble books and baby sign books. This helped to Makaton a part of everyday life.
We then added more words based on current interests and daily routine. Bed, brush teeth, car as well as fruit, juice, drink and dinner were pretty much mastered. We made sure to play games based on items we were focusing on so the key words had chance to be practised. We taught key signs to family and those who would be looking after J. Our preschool has Makaton trained staff…ask your setting/childminder if they have training. Also, we signed up to Makaton website and downloaded a lot of free resources.
Where to go for help.
As well as the main Makaton website there are apps such as ‘My Choice Pad’, YouTube videos and Pinterest that you can check out. It’s also worth speaking to your local children/sure start centre or library as they may have resources you can borrow. Ask your speech therapist for any local Makaton courses.
If your child is entitled to ‘Early Years Pupil Premium’ or your child gets SEND funding then it is worth speaking to your settings SENDCO (Special Educational Needs Coordinator) to ask if they can use some of that budget on Makaton resources/training. This will depend on your setting but as this money is meant to help children access education then it something worth discussing.
Makaton has made such a difference to J. He is so happy when someone understand what it is he’s asking for. It stops a lot of frustration (mind you, terrible twos have hit) and confusion.
If you are interested in donating to the Makaton charity please click Here to donate £1, £5…or whatever you can afford. If you liked this blog please leave us a little ‘like’ 😉