Makaton story time with Ian

I have been tutoring Ian, 53, since February.

Ian has autism and has minimal speech, which can be unclear to those unfamiliar to him. Since February, we have been exploring Makaton symbols with an aim for Ian to be using them as a communication aid to help build his independent communication when out and about.

We introduced the symbols through story spoons for the characters in Room on the Broom. I would read the story and sign each character, to which Ian would then match sign to the story spoon. Over time, Ian added sound effects for the animals as he became more confident with the use of them. Recognising symbols through stories has been effective for Ian and he now recognises a range of them.

Since the video was filmed, we have moved on the exploring how the witch feels at various parts of the story, using the Makaton symbols for each emotion. We have then linked the emotions to how Ian feels. He now accepts that it is good to feel sad, angry and worried as well happy in different situations.

Ian also has a lanyard with emotions and of interests that he uses to request and as conversation starters.

Holly Cannon Taylor