We often take communication for granted. I received an email last week from a visitor to the FRT website enjoying all the information and the use of the symbols, but wondering why I was using them and what they were.
During the FRT training courses we focus on the importance of communication around which the framework for Functional Reflex Therapy is designed.
There are many methods of communication and finding the right one for the child or adult that you support and work with can make a huge difference.
Makaton is just one method of communication, a language programme using signs and symbols to help people communicate. It is designed to support spoken language and the signs and symbols are used with speech in spoken word order. It is not British Sign Language.
There are just a few symbols used within the website ( the use for which I have been given permission by widgit Widgit Symbols ©Widgit Software 2003 – 2013 www.widgit.com ) to draw your attention.
People with communication difficulties and learning disabilities may struggle to make themselves understood – and to understand others. This can provoke intense frustration, challenging behaviour and isolation, and act as a barrier to achievement.
Makaton can help to reduce that frustration and give individuals the opportunity to connect with other people and the world around them.
You may see examples of Makaton now out in your local community. I was pleasantly surprised recently to see it being used in a local hospital.
How and where you can learn
The best way to learn Makaton is to attend a workshop. It means that you learn with other people, share your experiences, receive feedback on your signing and symbol work and enables you to practice with others. It also gives you the opportunity to meet and build a relationship with a Makaton Tutor, who can help and support you in the future.
You may find training sessions are held at your local special school, even if you do not have a child attending there give them a ring and inquire, they’ll be pleased to involve the local community or an adult education centre or visit www.makaton.org/training