What is Makaton?
Margaret Walker, Tony Cornforth and Kathy Johnston are the MA, KA and TON of MAKATON. Makaton is often known as key word sign and gesture.
The idea is to use key word signing to support the communication development of children or adults who are unable to speak, or whose speech is difficult to understand.
Gradually, MAKATON Principles were developed. These were to speak and sign concurrently, to sign the key words and use the sign production techniques of directionality and placement.
Another central principle not often highlighted is that of using the signs of the host country. This gives individuals working with Key Word Sign and natural gesture, and using the Makaton Vocabulary, the ability to use the same signs that are used within their country.
Choosing the Vocabulary
One of the important issues regarding the use of MAKATON is that the Vocabulary chosen is individualised. Choosing the vocabulary is an area in which parents/teachers/caregivers obviously make an important contribution. So, how does MAKATON suggest that we do this?
1. Make a list of all the concepts the person currently uses. These may be words, signs, etc., but for these to be meaningful they must be able to be distinguished from other sounds/gestures.
2. Identify the person's level of understanding of language? Do they understand more than they can express, less, or about the same?
3. Look at the MAKATON Vocabulary (stages 1-9) and identify which concepts the person uses. Also note other concepts that are used but not included in the MAKATON Vocabulary.
4. Describe the person's pattern of use in terms of the MAKATON stages. For example, most concepts are from stage 1, most concepts from stage 1+2, some concepts from stages 1, 2 , 3, and 5, etc.
5. Decide where to start. Look at stage 1. Are all the concepts used? If not
- Are there any concepts that are not at all relevant to the person?
- Which concepts are most essential and important to the person?
- Which concepts are most essential and important for others involved with them? e.g., for safety, to give directions etc.
- Which of the concepts identified in b) and c) will you teach first? Mark these as priority 1. Choose a small number of these (see following discussion on determining priorities).
- Are there any concepts not included in stage 1 that are essential for the person and must be rated as first priority? If so, add them to the stage 1 list.
- Look at the other concepts in stage 1. Rank these as either 2nd or 3rd priority.
- Repeat this process for each subsequent stage after the previous stage has been taught.
6. Record these decisions in the person's communication folder.
Com a colaboração: Australian Special Education Principals’ Association (ASEPA)