Methods & Strategies to enable a Child with Language & Communication needs

Always remember that one method or strategy might work for one child, but not as good for another, so using a variety of methods might suit your child best. Parents, carers or social workers should always pay special attention towards the child’s body language, facial impression and tone of voice, and also to one own way of communication.

MakatonMakaton Sign Language

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

Children and adults can communicate straight away using signs and symbols, it helps to; share thoughts, choices and emotions. Parents and carer can use Makaton with their children to:

  • label real objects, pictures, photos and places
  • take part in games and songs
  • listen to, read and tell stories
  • create recipes, menus and shopping lists
  • write letters and messages
  • help people find their way around public buildings

Many people drop the signs or symbols naturally at their own pace, as they develop speech. Over 100,000 children and adults, use Makaton symbols and signs. The TV program “Something Special” on BBC’s CBeebies Channel, uses the Makaton sign and symbol system to teach children games, songs and stories. The program is also available from the CBeebies Website. The Makaton Charity offers support and teaching tools.

British Sign Language (BSL)British Sign Language

Sign Language is a visual means of communicating using gestures, facial expression, and body language. Sign Language is used mainly by people who are Deaf or have hearing impairments. Within Britain the most common form of Sign Language is called British Sign Language (BSL). BSL has its own grammatical structure and syntax, as a language it is not dependant nor is it strongly related to spoken English. BSL is the preferred language of between 50,000 – 70,000 people within the UK. After a big campaign BSL was finally recognised by the UK government as an official minority language in 2003. Which led to increased funding for the needs of the communication of people who are Deaf, and an increased awareness of the language which now has a similar status to that of other minority national languages such as Gaelic and Welsh.

Makaton versus BSL

  • Makaton is designed to help hearing people with learning or communication difficulties.  It uses signs and symbols, with speech, in spoken word order.
  • BSL is the language of the deaf community in the UK.  It is a naturally evolving language, with its own grammar, word order and has regional variations.

Wherever Makaton is used in the world, the signs from the sign language of that country are used.  Sign advisors select signs that look like a word and are easy to make.  Once a sign is selected to be used with Makaton this becomes the sign that is used across the whole country.  This means that if a Makaton user needs to move to another school or town, the signs used there will be the same as they use in their current location. British Sign Language is only used in the UK. Other countries are using their own sign language. So depending on the need and impairment of the child it is to decide which communication method is best.

Picture Exchange Communication System (PEGS) PEGS

PEGS were developed in 1985 by Lori Frost, M.S., CCC-SLP and Andy Bondy, Ph.D.,  and is a form of augmentative and alternative communication. Typically used as an aid in communication for children with autism and other special needs. The system has been used with a variety of ages including pre-schoolers, adolescents and adults who have a wide array of communicative, cognitive and physical difficulties. PECS has been the subject of academic research. PECS are often used on a Now and Then Board.

Widget Symbols

Widget Symbols aid the understanding and communication for people who find reading text difficult and add visual support to the printed word. They give an easier access to information and separating it from the challenge of reading. Widget symbols cover over 40,000 words.

Widget Symbols

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All the Best,

Naomi x


2 thoughts on “Methods & Strategies to enable a Child with Language & Communication needs

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