Makaton and Special iApps

Special iApps logoThe Makaton Charity have partnered with Special iApp to make Makaton resources available for use within Special iApps technology. To access Makaton symbols within Special iApps, you must have a membership to both Special iApps and Makaton.

If you'd like to download and use Makaton resources in Special iApps, including Special Words Plus, Special Spellings Plus, and Special Stories Plus, you'll need to know your Makaton username and Makaton Membership ID (six digits). For more details, please refer to the Special iApps FAQs.

What’s included?

William using Special Words PlusSpecial Words Plus provides strategies for language development in early childhood and beyond. The app provides individuals the opportunity to improve communication and literacy skills, allowing them to show just how much they know. Use the app at school to support in the classroom, during speech therapy sessions or at home to continue learning and developing new skills.

William using Special Spelling PlusSpecial Spelling Plus supports individuals to become confident with spelling at home, school and beyond. Practice spelling patterns, letter recognition, sound production, increase sight-word vocabulary and more.

William using Special Stories PlusSpecial Stories Plus takes you through a story page by page, with a Makaton symbol and the word. Support communication, explain step-by-step tasks, and more by creating personalised social stories.

Using Makaton with Special iApps

Using these three tools together (Special Words Plus, Special Stories Plus, and Special Spelling Plus) alongside The Makaton Library, you can interactively perform matching activities and check signs by watching videos and exploring or downloading related Makaton resources.

Alice using Special iApps“For Alice, using Makaton symbols alongside the written word has been a great strategy for sight reading, so the Makaton partnership with Special iApps has made this available in a fun, engaging way. Alice loves matching symbols and text and has increased her reading vocabulary using this tool, and with many wordlists available to download it helps teaching staff personalise her learning more efficiently.” Amanda Glennon, Makaton Ambassador Tutor

Membership level

These resources are available for all Makaton members with both a Makaton and Special iApps membership, and are grouped according to your Makaton Membership level and the vocabulary you can access, meaning the content will depend on your current membership level. Please note that Makaton is always evolving, so you may notice that some word lists change over time.

Free Account

If you have a Free Account, there are three resources available:

Special iApps Default Words  based on the Special Words default profile word list which includes over 90 symbols on a one-word level of vocabulary that children first learn to understand, speak or sign. The list includes words used for early communication and features Makaton symbols for nouns, verbs, adjectives and prepositions.

Early Years Symbol Vocabulary includes 12 Makaton symbols: ‘Mummy’, ‘Daddy’, ‘Hello’, ‘Goodbye’, ‘Drink’, ‘Eat’, ‘Naughty’, ‘Good’, ‘No’, ‘Yes’, ‘Home’ and ‘Sleep’.

High Frequency Words includes 13 high frequency words learned by children. Using Makaton symbols to support learning High Frequency words is ideal as these words commonly aren't pictorial but there are existing Makaton symbols that represent these tricky words.

Premium Membership

With the Makaton Premium Membership there are over 10,000 concepts with the option to use over 160 downloadable add-ons to use in Special iApps. Premium Members will have access to all word lists as well as Makaton symbol vocabulary with additional concepts including:

Communication symbols and word lists to support everyday communication including colours, questions, greetings and emotions, food and drink, and toys.

Numeracy learn maths language, money symbols and numbers 1-10.

People word lists featuring people who help us and family members.

Places features symbols and word lists used around the home, garden, at the farm, birthday party, health care, school and work, town and transport.

Makaton Signing for Babies and Families (MSBF)  includes MSBF Training Sessions 1 to 6.

Other topics covered:

  • Animals
  • Colours
  • Food and Drink
  • Geography
  • Places and Events
  • School and Work
  • Surface and Position
  • Money
  • Join Today!

To access Makaton symbols within Special iApps, you must have a membership to both Special iApps and Makaton.

Join the Makaton Membership

Join the Special iApps Membership

Your stories

Beverly Dean with her husband and two sonsBeverley Dean MBE, founder of Special iApps, shares her family’s journey of using Makaton with her sons and how Makaton has remained a part of their daily lives for 17 years and how it is useful for all ages and aspects of life.

From Baby Signing to Talking Teenager (Part 1)

Alfie using Special iAppsMakaton Tutor Sarah Case shares her experience using Makaton with Special iApps to enhance her son Alfie's speech development and communication skills.

The Makaton and Special iApps partnership


We have made these resources available in collaboration with Special iApps and Makaton Ambassadors. A special thank you to Makaton Ambassadors: Amica Coleman, Amanda Glennon and Kerry Cawley who were involved in the creation of these resources.