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Collar and Cuffs Co

Collar & Cuffs Co

We're pleased to introduce you to one of the first organisations to become Makaton Aware, Collar & Cuffs Co.

Founded in 2016, Collar & Cuffs Co is a multi-award-winning company renowned for creating sensory trails, tours, theatre, and resources. Their mission? To widen access, participation, and inclusion in heritage, culture, arts, nature, and horticulture for people of all ages with special educational needs and disabilities, including those with severe learning difficulties (SLD) and profound and multiple learning disabilities (PMLD).

Here's what Creative Director, and autistic parent of autistic twins, Julia told us:

“If you've ever been to one of our shows, sensory tours or a sensory storytelling session, then you'll know that we use Makaton every single time, no matter who we're working with.

We use Makaton whether our audience communicates using signs or not. For our youngest participants, signing helps support visual attention and it helps to normalise signing as part of communication. Parents/Carers of children/young people without SEND find signing fascinating. Using it often leads to them wanting to know more, trying out signs for themselves, and having useful conversations with their kids about why signing matters.

For most of our SEND audience, Makaton is a key part of their communication needs, and it's as natural for us to sign as it is to use spoken, sensory, or any other type of inclusive and total communication.

As an autistic person, I have always been someone who uses my hands a lot when I talk, so signing offers me a way to give my hands purpose, control, and meaning. I have also signed with my children since they were born - one of my twins had a 60% hearing loss for nearly four years of his life, and signing became a way to support his language development. Our family still uses Makaton now as a means of communicating when anxiety levels are high, across crowded spaces, or when a bit of discretion is needed.

It is therefore a no-brainer that Collar & Cuffs Co has signed up to become Makaton Aware and will be proudly displaying the Makaton Aware certificate and window sticker.”

Thank you Collar & Cuffs Co for becoming Makaton Aware and helping us to build a community where everyone's voice is heard and understood! Together, we will continue to break down communication barriers and build a more inclusive world for all.

Click here for more information about how you can become Makaton Aware or get in touch on [email protected].

10 June 2024


Out and about

Syeda’s Makaton Story

A Parent's Path: Syeda’s Makaton Story

Syeda with her family

Syeda with her parentsOur beautiful daughter Syeda was born in 2016. As she grew and developed, we realised that she was missing certain milestones and after repeated trips to the doctors, nothing serious was identified as the cause.

Then at 11 months, she suffered a fit whilst struggling with a cold and flu. What happened next would change our lives forever. What little progress she had made regressed, and we were told she had Global Developmental Delay and suffered Febrile Seizures. After seeing a Neurological Paediatrician, we finally got a diagnosis of Spastic Cerebral Palsy, Epilepsy, and Global Developmental Delay.

Speech was one aspect where we really struggled as a family. We were told she may never talk and that we should prepare for that scenario. We moved back to the UK and set up lots of private appointments with different hospitals.

It wasn’t until Syeda was 3 1/2 years old that we were told about Makaton by our amazing Early Year Support Worker, Mel (Sandwell Council). She set us up for a taster session for parents with additional needs children. Despite Syeda being so young, we used Makaton and it only made a slight impact. I was worried and reluctant to continue this journey as I thought it might be an impediment to her speech. After being convinced by my husband, we both decided to give this journey everything we could. We both enrolled privately onto Level 1 and Level 2 Makaton courses. We began using it at home with each other and with Syeda as much as we could. It was through a lot of repetition and perseverance that Syeda started to say words and communicate her needs. It was an amazing achievement, and Makaton has become a part of our everyday life.

It was a fabulous feeling seeing the positive impact this had on Syeda finally being able to communicate her basic needs. My husband and I decided to continue and both completed Level 3 and Level 4. We found that a lot of behaviours that had once been present reduced significantly. Her ability to communicate what activities she wanted to do, when she wanted to use the washroom, what she wanted to eat, etc., increased. It had meant her overall life quality was improved. Her personality grew and her ability to socialise with greater confidence also improved.

Despite her newfound ability to now communicate her needs, it was still frustrating when we were out and about in social situations where she wanted to interact with others around her. As they were unable to communicate with her despite being willing to do so. People would ask us signs when they wanted to include and talk to Syeda, it ranged from people in the healthcare professions to general members of the public to friends and family. As a result, we realised quickly we had to make the environment around Syeda Makaton aware and improve the skills of all willing individuals to increase her comfort at all levels of interaction in the wider society outside the home. We knew we had to teach Makaton to make the change.

Following this, I decided to do the Makaton Tutor Course to facilitate Syeda. Her use of Makaton is a lifetime journey and the impact it has had is unparalleled. As a family, it has helped us all communicate and meant Syeda is now included in every aspect of our lives.

I will always be grateful to Mel for introducing us to Makaton and also to my husband for convincing me to persevere on this journey.



28th May 2024

At home

Makaton Aware launched

Makaton Aware launched

Makaton Aware sticker

Young man paying for drinks in a pubPromoting inclusivity and enhancing communication!

We are thrilled to announce the launch of Makaton Aware, an initiative dedicated to fostering inclusivity and accessibility in public spaces. Whether you are part of a business, organisation, or a passionate individual, you can help create welcoming environments where everyone feels valued and understood.

Why Makaton Aware?

Makaton Aware is an innovative initiative committed to breaking down communication barriers and ensuring everyone feels understood. Our goal is to build a network of inclusive spaces where people from diverse backgrounds can thrive. This initiative is perfect for anyone looking to promote inclusivity without the need for extensive training.

Our Vision

Our vision is simple: to build a community where everyone's voice is heard and understood. Through Makaton Aware, we promote inclusivity, empower individuals, and foster meaningful connections.

Benefits of Joining Makaton Aware

Embrace Understanding and Patience: Approach communication with patience and understanding, respecting diverse ways of expression.

Allow Time and Space: Ensure individuals have the necessary time and space to communicate in their preferred manner.

Foster Inclusivity: Create a nurturing atmosphere where every community member feels valued.

Provide Staff Support: Offer assistance and support to customers facing communication challenges.

Use Clear Signage: Implement clear symbols throughout your environment to aid easy navigation and identification.

How it works

  1. Complete the Online Form: Answer a few simple questions and provide your contact information.
  2. Make Payment: Complete the £50 annual enrolment payment.
  3. Receive Your Resources: Upon signup, you'll receive a comprehensive resource pack, including a Makaton Aware certificate, window sticker, symbol cards, and more.
  4. Promotion: Your business will be featured on our interactive map and promoted to our 80k+ social media followers.
  5. Stay Informed: Receive email updates on Makaton news, events, and training opportunities.
  6. Download Resources: Access a wide range of digital resources, including the Makaton Aware logo to showcase on your website and materials.

Special welcome gift

In your first year, you'll receive our bestselling Everyday Vocabulary Flashcards and a Makaton Aware small bundle pack, featuring practical items like a branded pen, badge, and lanyard - worth over £20!

Join Makaton Aware for just £50 per year. Take the first step towards a more inclusive society. Sign up today to become Makaton Aware and enrich your community experience.

Together, let's create a world where everyone's voice is heard and understood.

Click here for more information about Makaton Aware and how to get involved

22nd May 2024


Cover of Makaton Annual Report 2022/2023, showing a smiling man

Annual Report

Find out more about what we do and the difference we make year on year...

We need your support!

We are continuing to develop our services and resources for those who rely on our language programme.