Help with verbal dyspraxia and communication

Young girl at playgroundMakaton can help people with verbal dyspraxia and their communication through using a combination of signs, symbols and speech to help children and adults develop language skills, understand and be understood. Makaton empowers people with verbal dyspraxia to communicate using signs and symbols, with many naturally dropping them at their own pace, as speech develops.

How does verbal dyspraxia affect speech?

Developmental verbal dyspraxia (verbal dyspraxia / apraxia of speech) is a neurological motor disorder that impacts upon a child's ability to plan and execute the movement that is required to produce speech. People with verbal dyspraxia find it hard to produce individual speech sounds and to put sounds together in the right order. As a result, their speech is often hard to understand. Individuals with verbal dyspraxia can also have difficulty moving their mouths, lips and tongue for things like eating and can sometimes find it hard to co-ordinate their body movements.

A child with verbal dyspraxia may:

  • have a limited range of speech sounds.
  • overuse one sound (favourite articulation)
  • speak slowly
  • have difficulty with reading, writing and spelling
  • be delayed in fine and gross motor co-ordination/development

To find out more about verbal dyspraxia visit Dyspraxia Foundation

How is verbal dyspraxia diagnosed?

Verbal dyspraxia can be diagnosed by a speech and language therapist. They will look for certain features within a child’s speech. Children with verbal dyspraxia can find speech and language therapy of great benefit. It can improve their communication and help to make them more intelligible, which reduces frustration and increases confidence and self-esteem. Children with verbal dyspraxia might use alternative ways to communicate, such as Makaton.

To find a speech and language therapist visit RCSLT - Royal College of Speech & Language Therapists

How does Makaton help people with verbal dyspraxia and their communication?

Some individuals who have verbal dyspraxia may find that Makaton helps them to speak. Signs are used with speech to provide extra visual support about what someone is saying. Using signs helps people who have no speech, or whose speech is not clear. Symbols can be used by people who have limited speech, or those who either cannot or prefer not to sign.

Some people with verbal dyspraxia may prefer to use PECS (Picture Exchange Communication System) as their chosen form of communication. Makaton symbols can be used with PECS

Many children will develop understanding ahead of their speech, which will leave them feeling frustrated as they may know what they want but are unable to express it. Makaton targets this frustration, allowing them to communicate meaningfully and effectively which promotes inclusion and independence.

Makaton can help people with verbal dyspraxia who have difficulty with:

  • conveying their feelings, wants and needs
  • being understood
  • attention and listening
  • visual sequencing memory

With Makaton, individuals with verbal dyspraxia are able to connect with other people and the world around them, which opens a range of possibilities. Find out how Makaton works

How do I start out with Makaton?

Are you ready to take the first step and start learning Makaton? Getting started with Makaton is fun and easy. The best way to start learning Makaton is to attend Level 1 training . It means that you learn with other people, share your experiences, and practise with others. It also gives you the opportunity to meet and build a relationship with a Makaton Tutor, who can help and support you in the future. Use our quick and easy search tool to find a workshop near you  (both online and face-to-face training is available).

Makaton Membership complements and enhances training with 24/7 digital access to symbols, signs and video tutorials plus the support of our vibrant online forum, MakaChat. Membership is a valuable support tool for family and friends of Makaton Users and professionals who use Makaton in the workplace.

If you prefer to learn at your own pace, in your own time and in your own home, membership  is a great way to begin your Makaton journey. With a choice of Individual and Group Memberships, simply select the Membership that's right for you.

Visit our Membership  area to start your free 7-day trial.