Makaton signing:

What is Makaton signing?

Makaton is a language programme using signs and symbols to help people communicate. Makaton is used alongside spoken language to support individual’s understanding or their ability to be understood by others. Makaton can sometimes be used instead of spoken language. Signs and symbols are used in the same order as spoken sentences.

Link to free resources:



What do we mean by communication?

Communication is simply the act of getting a message from one person, across to another.

The way we communicate can depend on lots of different things. Cultural differences, our location, our emotions and physical or learning factors can all change the way that we communicate.

Everyone communicates differently. Some people communicate using spoken words, whilst others sign, use communication books and symbols, or use technology to communicate with other people.

It is important that everyone knows how we all communicate. This means that people can be involved in decision making, communication can be supported between home, school and in the community, and ensure that everyone has the opportunity to communicate with others.


Intensive Interaction

What is intensive interaction?

Intensive interaction is an approach to teaching the fundamentals of communication to children and adults who are still at an early stage of communication development.

The Fundamentals of Communication

  • Learning to give brief attention to another person.
  • To share attention with another person
  • Learning to extend this attention, learning to concentrate on another person
  • Developing shared attention into activities
  • Taking turns in exchanges of behaviour
  • To have fun, play
  • Using and understanding eye contact
  • Using and understanding facial expressions
  • Using and understanding body language
  • Learning use and understanding of physical contacts
  • Learning use and understanding of vocalisations, learning to use more varied vocalisations which become more extensive, precise and meaningful.

How do you do it?

Intensive interaction is based on others responding to actions and sounds that the young person, or adult makes. This might be through copying a noise they make, or tapping a drum to the same rhythm.

The young person takes the lead, and the adult will respond to what they would like to do in the session, instead of directing them to a structured activity.

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Switches are a way for others to communicate, and are activated by pressing down on the top with some part of the body (e.g. hand, head, knee). They may look, and work, like a big button. Switches are available in different sizes, shapes and colours. Some allow the activation pressure to be adjusted.

There are a wide variety of ways in which a switch can be adapted to be activated in different ways.

Switches need to be positioned carefully and safely, to stop them falling or moving away from the users reach. This will help the switching system to become easier and easier for the user to use. The less they think about switching, the more they are able to concentrate on what they want to be doing!