By Amanda Glennon (Makaton Tutor)
As a parent and Makaton Tutor I have seen first hand the advantages that Makaton Symbols can bring as part of a multimodal approach for reading, writing , and developing memory skills.
I have found that they can sometimes printed card type resources can appear uninspiring to learners, and so when was asked to trial the Totemigo by Makaton I was excited!
The totemigo is a robust, colourful ‘tool /toy’ which welcomes exploration and limited motor skills. The reels attach together by internal magnets – it has a ‘rubic cube’ feel and I have found it kinaesthetic and undestructable (so far)!
Don’t be fooled by the colourful early years appearance – Totemigo uses are easily differeniated across ages and abilities and I see many uses across High School, Colleges and Adults to express feelings and choices. For example it could be used by people who have recently had a stroke and lost the ablilty to verbalise to express their needs.
Each of the reels can be rotated vertically offering a choice of symbols and/or images and text. The vertical strips are produced online, printed, laminated and cut into strips to lead into one or more reels – depending how many you want to use. In the above pictures there are 4 and the 3 reels used. The user can then build options by twisting the catridges and lining up the symbols up across the reels.
When you purchase your Totemigo you will receive the device itself (4 blank reels) in a handy storage tube, an A4 folder to keep created activities in an activation code to enable your for your account on the Totemigo website.
Once you create your account you are able to view activities other people have shared and create and edit your own.
Using the online tool is relatively easy. When you choose to ‘+’ an image you will be able to switch on the Makaton tab and access all the Makaton Core Vocabulary symbols.
This is how it looks on screen. You can search by typing the start of the word and the symbols will be displayed to choose from. A click on the symbol adds it to your Vertical Strip. Once you start creating an activity you can save, share and print , ready to laminate and load into your Totemigo. Previous activity strips can be stored in the folder for future use.
I have found many uses and thought I would share a few ideas here:
1. Simply Sentence building using only Core Vobabulary. You are able to colour the backgrounds, this means you can support a Colourful Semantics approach to the level your user needs
2. More personlised Sentences using pictures alongside the symbols by loading images
3. Symbol support for topic work like the 3 pigs, dear zoo by loading pictures and /or non core symbols.
Whatever you are supporting as a Makaton Tutor I can recommend using the Totemigo, especically when talking about and illustrating the use of symbols – it really brings them to life.
My daughter Alice took the Totemigo into school to support some literacy work. Here is what her teacher said:
“The Totemigo is an excellent tool which I found really helpful for children in a school setting. I used this at first for a sequencing activity within a communication activity. The pupils found it easy to use and the visuals created a great support and reference point. This would be a tool that I would use widely across my classroom for various activities and with a variety of children.” Alicia Dooley – Dorin Park School
If you are interested in purchasing a Totemigo and have any questions please feel free to contact me . The after sales and technology support you will receive from Antonin and the team is also first class.