My Makaton journey started when I had my son Alfie back in 2014. Alfie has DS (Down Syndrome). I conducted lots of research into language programmes to assist and enhance his speech development and communication and discovered the amazing world of Makaton! I started with 'Makaton Signing for Babies' and then progressed onto Mr Tumble, Dave Benson Philips and the fabulous Signing Hands. My passion for Makaton was ignited as I saw first-hand the fantastic effect it had on Alfie. Enabling him to have a voice and relieving his frustrations, caused by lack of verbal communication skills. It allowed him to be included within his school and be able to communicate with staff and his peers. It has also really bought his speech development on. This then led to me deciding that I wanted to progress further with Makaton so signed up to do my Level 1, 2, 3 and 4 Workshops.
In October 2021 I started 'Makaton With Alfie: What's It All About Alfie' across all the major social media sites, were Alfie and I post daily Makaton Sign videos in order to spread awareness for Makaton far and wide. The next natural step for me was to do my Makaton Tutor Training, which I successfully completed in September 2022, which then led me to start my business 'Sarah The Makaton Tutor' (www.sarahthemakatontutor.com) I want to enable as many people across as many settings and environments as possible to be able to 'Talk Makaton'.
The Makaton and Special iApps partnership
As well as using Makaton with Alfie to help give him his voice and to develop his speech so his communication frustrations are removed, I also use Makaton to support his school learning, as does his school. Alfie attends mainstream Junior’s.
I use Makaton to help him with his spellings, reading, sentence formation, maths and subject topics, so I’m always looking for ways this can be more easily implemented.
I was already using the full suite of Special iApps with Alfie to supplement his learning, so I was really happy when I learnt of the partnership between Makaton and Special iApps. This new partnership is absolutely perfect as it really helps to embed his learning, allowing him to ‘experience success’ due to his prior knowledge and awareness of Makaton Symbols.
To get the maximum benefit from this partnership I have bought the three-device membership. I have it set up on my iPad at home that Alfie uses, my mobile phone (so we have access when we’re out and about, sat waiting for hospital appointments etc) and the 3rd device is his iPad he uses at school. We can do independent learning at home & at school, or I can reinforce and further embed his school learning by working on the topics he is currently learning.
We also love the facility to generate your own tailored resources. Alfie loves using the Special iApps resources. They are truly user friendly, and he is even teaching me different things to find within them on a daily basis! Its official, I’m being ‘out-teched’ by my nearly 9-year-old! For the best results from this partnership, I’d highly recommend having the Makaton Premium membership package as that entitles you to have fuller access to all the Makaton Symbols from the Core Vocabulary within the Special iApps resources.
I can’t praise this partnership enough and both Alfie and I look forward to what else develops from it in the future.
By Sarah & Alfie Case
Click here to learn more about the Makaton and Special iApps Partnership