Using Symbols and Signs with the Sounds of the Words to teach your child to communicate...
Makaton Signing is a communication tool to help a person communicate. It does not prevent someone from learning to talk. When signing you also say the word so the relationship of the two is made by the child or adult. One advantage of this method over PECS (Picture Exchange Communication System) is that you do not need to buy or take resources everywhere with you but some individuals find a visual aid such as a picture, photograph or symbol easier to relate to a physical object and its name so, trying both to see which suits a person best is recommended.
Within 8 weeks of our daughter being in environments where Makaton was used, she made her first independent sign at nursery school. At home her first communication was by independently signing for 'milk' as she came toddling out to the kitchen at bedtime, dressed in her pyjamas! I was so happy and quickly rewarded her by warming up and giving her, her bottle of milk. A while later she said the 'mmm' sound as she signed so, again I gave her lots of praise and warmed up and gave her milk. From that time on she only got rewarded with her milk when she signed AND said 'mmm.' THis is how you help your child progress on to using verbal communication and language...
I have attended the two professional courses for Makaton signing (Foundation and Enhancement) and had training in PECS and use this with the children & adults I work with who have communicating difficulties and autism.
From the Makaton Website:
A video and a message for Parents and Carers about the advantages of using Makaton Signing