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Makaton symbol for Red

Sign of the Week

20th - 26th March 2023

Learn a new word every week and be inspired to get signing.

This week's sign is...


You can download the symbol and line drawing of the sign for Red from the Makaton Library:


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For further details see: How do I download the Sign of the Week?

We want to see you signing!

  1. Record a video of yourself signing. Landscape videos are best!
  2. Upload your video to your Facebook, Twitter or Instagram
  3. Share your video using the #wetalkmakaton hashtag

Signs of the Week

From Baby Signing to Talking Teenager (Part 1)

From Baby Signing to Talking Teenager (Part 1)

About us

Dean family Our family Makaton journey probably first started over 20 years ago when I explored signing for babies after my elder son was born. We then delved further as our younger son William arrived 5 years later. William has Down syndrome, autism plus several medical conditions. He has a hearing loss and has been wearing hearing aids since a baby.

Like many parents we learned Makaton to use at home. I recall we started to sign quite early on with William, then stopped as I couldn’t see William signing back and got quite disheartened. Other kids we knew around his age were picking up signs faster and doing better than him but they did not have his complex health issues going on. We watched Mr Tumble and Singing Hands together then I restarted doing more with him having attended Makaton training and feeling empowered and encouraged by parents of older children who recommended to just keep going. William started to sign, but at a slower pace and in his own way. Makaton and signing remain a big part of his life today as his speech development has been slow. We rely on a mixture of speech, signs and written words. Our use of Makaton has switched focus as he’s grown older to be more age related, be around encouraging communication, choices as well as preparing for adulthood.

My family is the one behind Special iApps C.I.C. as we’ve been developing educational apps for children with a wide range of special educational needs and disabilities since 2011. During the coronavirus pandemic we started working closely with The Makaton Charity and you can read more about this here Special iApps Collaboration, and also what Sarah and Alfie thought of the The Makaton and Special iApps partnership.

If you’d want to introduce Makaton and are looking for tips, then I’d repeat the advice given to me a long time ago.

  • Make it fun, as we all learn more if we enjoy the experience
  • Take it easy, introduce one sign at a time that is meaningful to your family then practice and pace yourself
  • Use it daily, and incorporate throughout your day weaving signs within your routines
  • Keywords, pick out those key words and signs you need for your child you can then build them up to use more together as your child grows and develops
  • Repetition, repetition, repetition, practice, practice and practice
  • Find a signing buddy, as it’s good to share with someone going through the same thing at the same time and these friendships can last a while, even a lifetime!
  • One more thing I would add is that your child and your family are unique. Don’t compare. It’s hard not to as we as parents do, but each child is different. You will get a lot of advice from others (both parents and professionals), some of which may just fit into place, others might not. Never be afraid to try, and if you do stop or pause then take a break but do try again. Always give things a second chance and find your own pace that works for your family.

    At the very start we learned a handful of signs as and when we needed them and learned more as time went on and William progressed. Over the years I’ve met families whose children signed in their early years and then stopped as they started to talk. For us, with William, it’s been the long haul. Signing is still part of our daily lives seventeen years on as we use it when we need to. Makaton isn’t just for babies but for adults too and covers all aspects of life as children grow into teenagers and then into adulthood. There are some fantastic resources available these days, much more than when we first started our journey. I continue to find new things to do with Makaton and find new resources and realise that there was a lot I didn’t know which I wish I did when he was younger and can also see a lot more that is available and that we can use with him now. Learning is lifelong, so we continue our journey…

    Beverley Dean MBE, Founder of Special iApps C.I.C.

    See also


Beverley Dean MBE

13th March 2023

At home

Supporting English as an Additional Language

Supporting English as an Additional Language

EAL board

EAL boardThe majority of the pupils at a one form entry school in Newbury, Berkshire, have English as an additional language, with families from all over the world, making this a very special and unique educational setting.

Holly was a teacher in year 3 in the Autumn term, with a class of 32 children. While most of the ‘EAL’ pupils did not appear to have a language barrier as such in this particular cohort, there was one pupil who stood out more than the rest, who would slip behind but not reach out for help, who was kind and caring but quiet. For the sake of this blog, she will be referred to as Pupil A.


We used Makaton to sign ‘good morning’ and ‘good afternoon’ every day in class. Pupil A picked this up very quickly, leading her to be more responsive and confident during the register. Signing just these two concepts daily made a significant difference to Pupil A, who would gradually start to contribute a little more in class, start conversations and make links, building on her comprehension and inference skills.

Makaton symbols were used to support story maps of the text we were using in literacy and I would sign the story to the class, which all of the pupils enjoyed joining in with. Using the symbols with the signs further helped Pupil A to sequence the stories, creating her own story maps and innovating ideas in order to write her own version.

Communication boards

Holly’s teaching assistant and school ELSA, Sian Howard, worked with Pupil A in year 2 as well as year 3. After speaking with Sian, it became clear that since introducing Makaton signs and symbols, Pupil A has made significant progress with reading and writing as well as her making links through the movement of gesture as the connections were being made with her speech and recall.

Since returning from the Christmas holidays Pupil A continues to sign 'good morning ' and 'good afternoon'. It has been noted that her spoken English has become clearer and more confident. Makaton is used for Pupil A as much as possible in the classroom setting, for example, during a Spanish lesson on animals the sign for each animal was demonstrated to Pupil A in both Spanish and English. Pupil A finds Spanish challenging but did her best to follow the new vocabulary. After the lesson Sian went through the signs with her in English, Pupil A joined in with the signing, finding it easy to communicate using both her hands and her speech, and after felt confident enough to tell Sian a story about a cat she stroked.


Holly Cannon-Taylor and Sian Howard

3rd March 2023

At school

Everyday Vocabulary Flashcards

Everyday Vocabulary Flashcards

Makaton Vocabulary Flashcards

Makaton Vocabulary FlashcardsWe are thrilled to introduce a brand new item in the Makaton Shop: Everyday Vocabulary Flashcards. A powerful tool for individuals of all ages and abilities to enhance communication and language development. With 37 carefully chosen signs and symbols, these flashcards cover a range of essential everyday words such as 'hello', 'house', 'food', 'toilet', 'book', 'telephone', 'yes', 'no', 'where', 'which', 'what', 'happy' and 'sad'.

Measuring 54mm x 85mm, these durable white PVC cards come with a sturdy metal snap ring for easy storage and organisation. Whether you're a parent, teacher, speech therapist, or caregiver, these flashcards can help support communication and interaction with individuals who have communication difficulties, language delays, or learning disabilities.

These flashcards can be used in a variety of ways to build sentences, initiate conversation, or prompt social interactions. They can also be used in conjunction with other Makaton resources to help develop literacy skills, increase vocabulary, and improve comprehension.

With the Everyday Vocabulary Flashcards, you can help individuals improve their communication skills and build confidence in their ability to express themselves. Get yours today for an introductory offer in the Spring Sale for just £11.96 (Usually £14.95). Use code SPRING23 when you checkout. This offer is only available until 31st March so don’t miss out, shop today!

Shop now

As always, your purchase helps support the valuable work we do at The Makaton Charity to improve communication and understanding for everyone. We are grateful for your continued support.

1st March 2023


Three people signing Good

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