Makaton improves communication for young family
Published by HearFirst for HearFirst in Education and also in Communities, Health
Ele Braithwaite with her boys, Ben aged 12, Toby aged 4 & Leo aged 2
A 36 year-old mother fromNottinghamhas told of her delight after using Makaton to communicate with her three sons who all have learning disabilities.
Ele Braithwaite from Wollaton in Nottinghamturned to Makaton, after finding out that all three of her sons, Ben (12), Toby (4) and Leo (2) were diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder.
Ele’s story is promoted during Learning Disability Awareness this week which highlights the significant and widespread difficulties people with learning disabilities have in learning and understanding.
Makaton is a language programme which uses signs and symbols to help people to communicate. With over 100,000 children and adults in the UK using Makaton symbols and signs, it helps to take away any frustration and enables individuals to connect with each other.
Ele is a full time carer and was signposted to Makaton after being referred by portage – a home educational service for pre-school children with additional support needs and their families.
She initially attended a two-day Makaton foundation course. She then went on to attend the two-day enhancement course and is now hoping to complete her local tutor training to help pass her Makaton skills to other parents and carers.
Ele, who is currently retraining to work with special needs children and is also doing a degree with the Open University, said: “It has changed our lives immensely. Before and without Makaton there was very little or no communication – now, it’s part of everyday life. It is a must have skill which is essential for communication, very easy and enjoyable to learn.”
“With Leo, I only use a couple of signs such as finished or all gone, hello, drink, stand up and no. Toby has much more knowledge of signs and when I learnt it, it was like he could finally talk to me, communicate and accept it. He seemed very relieved I could understand him. His nursery has completely taken it on board too which has made all the difference. All the staff there use Makaton as well as many of the children.”
Training for staff within organisations is delivered by specialist training company HearFirst and is available throughout theUK. The courses help delegates to understand what Makaton is, explore the use of signs and symbols, learn how to use it and have confidence using a range of everyday signs and symbols.
Julie Ryder, Director and Founder of HearFirst, said: “This is a lovely example of how Makaton has helped Ele and her young family. The benefits have helped her to communicate with all of her sons at different stages of their development.
“Makaton training is worthwhile and valuable in all organisations where staff may come into contact with someone who uses it to communicate. I am hoping that the awareness of this is increased further during Learning Disability Awareness Week.”
For more information on Makaton training, please contact Julie Ryder at HearFirst on 01706 872 816 or visit www.hearfirst.org.uk