This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Find out more here.
The Makaton Charity
for those with difficulty communicating

What is Makaton?

Being able to communicate is one of the most important skills we need in life.  Almost everything we do relies on our ability to communicate with each other.


Makaton is a language programme using signs and symbols to help people to communicate.  It is designed to support spoken language and the signs and symbols are used with speech, in spoken word order.


With Makaton, children and adults can communicate straight away using signs and symbols.  Many people then drop the signs or symbols naturally at their own pace, as they develop speech.


For those who have experienced the frustration of being unable to communicate meaningfully or effectively, Makaton really can help.  Makaton takes away that frustration and enables individuals to connect with other people and the world around them.  This opens up all kinds of possibilities.


Makaton is extremely flexible as it can be personalised to an individual's needs and used at a level suitable for them. 

Who uses Makaton?

Today over 100,000 children and adults, use Makaton symbols and signs, either as their main method of communication or as a way to support speech.


Makaton users include:

People with learning or communication difficulties

Makaton is the UK's leading language programme for adults and children with learning or communication difficulties.  It is also used by everyone who shares their lives, for example, parents and other family members, friends and carers, and education and health professionals.


People developing their language and literacy skills

Makaton is used for teaching communication, language and literacy skills with children and adults who are at an early stage of communication and language development.  This structured approach can also help people who are learning English as an additional language, helping them to communicate straightaway, while also supporting their learning.


Mainstream schools

Makaton is regularly used in mainstream schools, to support all children to develop communication, language and literacy skills.  It is also supports integration, as children with and without language difficulties can communicate with each other, learn and play together more easily.


People looking after babies and young children

There is a special Makaton Signing for Babies training, available to parents, family members and professionals who wish to sign with the babies and children in their care. Signing while speaking, has been show to encourage the development of communication and language skills.  It can also give carers a greater understanding of a baby's wants and needs, which can help reduce frustration.


All of us

Makaton symbols are widely used in public buildings such as schools, hospitals, courts and libraries, to help people find their way around.  So, you may be using Makaton in daily life without even knowing it!

What do we do?

The Makaton Charity exists to ensure that everyone living with learning or communication difficulties has the tools and resources they need to communicate. 


We work towards this through our activities: 


Training - Our nationwide network of over 1,000 licensed Makaton Tutors and Trainers across the UK deliver training to over 30,000 parents, carers and professionals each year.

Click here to find Makaton training sessions in your area.  


Resources - We have developed a wide range of printed and electronic resources extends from nursery rhyme DVDs to vocabulary books covering complex subjects such as bereavement to electronic collections of signs and symbols for computer use.


Making Information accessible - Accessible information enables Makaton users to participate in life. For example, by working with Local Councils to translate materials using Makaton symbols so that Makaton users can vote in local elections, and with housing associations to provide information about the services they offer.


Support - Our free Family Advisory Service provides information and support to parents and family members of people with a learning or communication difficulty and to the professionals working with them.


Influencing society - Working with partners such as The National Portrait Gallery, Her Majesty's Court Service and the BBC promotes communication and makes Makaton available so more people are able to participate.


To find out more about Makaton & what we do, visit our website


Finding Us

Westmead House
GU14 7LP