My name is Paul. I have been an inpatient in a specialist hospital for about a year. I had some individual Makaton sessions with my Speech and Language Therapist and attended one or two Makaton group sessions on the ward. I found that I really liked Makaton as I was able to remember all of the signs, from each of the stages (1-8).
These sessions led up to me delivering my own Makaton sign-sharing session to 6 members of staff from the hospital Multi-Disciplinary Team; during vocation week. This session lasted one hour. I explained that Makaton was invented in the 1970’s by 3 Speech and Language Therapists; Margaret Walker, Katherine Johnston and Tony Cornforth. I described how their names make up the word Makaton. I described the ‘rules’ of Makaton and guided staff through the BSL finger-spelling alphabet, telling them about vowels and demonstrating how to say and sign ‘My name is…’. We played Makaton bingo and matching pair’s games were played. The session finished with a memory game.
At the end of the session the staff filled out evaluation forms which were shared with my teaching staff. This contributed to me receiving a silver arts award for leadership skills.
At the moment I am delivering Makaton sign-sharing sessions to two children on a different ward; to support their communication difficulties. I feel that by helping them to communicate I am also raising their self-esteem.
I think Makaton is a valuable method of communication. I do not personally need Makaton to communicate but I get a lot of satisfaction from helping my peers who struggle to communicate.
I will be moving to a new service soon and I have offered to hold sign-sharing sessions with my new care team. I have also been asked to help a parent learn how to sign to her child who has Down syndrome, to support them to communicate.
Whilst practicing and teaching Makaton I feel that my confidence has improved massively as I have found myself in situations where I have had one-to-one conversations with other young people. This used to be an area of great difficulty for me.