This is the second part of our beginner's guide to Makaton. The Zen team have put together some short videos demonstrating a mix of simple and slightly more complex phrases in Makaton, including 'school' and 'how are you'.

Over 100,000 children and adults use Makaton, a language designed to support spoken language with signs and symbols. It uses a unique visual approach to developing communication skills in children and adults, by encouraging sounds and words alongside hand gestures. In many cases, Makaton is used to facilitate talking in early language development. It is also a powerful tool that gives children a little extra support during language and literacy development.

It is a constantly evolving language, with teachers, health professionals and public service bodies adopting Makaon to aid general communication. As a result, the team at Zen have been learning important and topical makaton words and phrases at home.

Our SEN Lead, Olivia, has plenty of experience using Makaton as a former SEND support worker and SEND Teaching Assistant. With experience working with children with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), severe autism, complex medical needs and Profound and Multiple Learning Disabilities (PMLD), she had the relevant experience to introduce us to more key words in Makaton following on from our beginner’s guide to Makaton.

To learn useful Makaton signs, have a scroll through the videos from our team. Then you can share them with friends and colleagues - practice makes perfect!

1. Hello teachers

2. My name is

3. How are you? Good

4. Good luck

5. Thank you

6. School

7. Can I help you? Can you help me?

8. Friend

9. Family

10. Well done

If you’re interested in reading more from Olivia, you might be interested in this article on how Teaching Assistants can socially support children with SEND. She also made five book recommendations for promoting friendships, inclusivity and understanding of SEND in primary classes.

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