I first learnt about Makaton at a job I had working with adults with learning difficulties in a college. I was taught it on the job and picked it up as I went along, but had no official training.
My 4 year old daughter, Lucinda, has Down's syndrome, so I decided to book myself onto a Makaton workshop a few years back to ensure I could best promote and support her communication development. I have loved all the worksshops and have found what I have learnt invaluable.
Although not officially considered 'training' I have also learnt a lot from Mr Tumble and Singing Hands!
I now use Makaton every day with Lucinda. She needs it as it helps her get her needs met, be understood, express choices and ease frustrations. She is an awesome little signer.
Lucinda'solder brother also benefited from learning Makaton when he was younger as he also has some speech delay, mainly around the clarity of his words - he no longer needs it for himself but still uses it with his sister, which is lovely.
Makaton has had a massively positive impact on our lives, and has really helped Lucinda communicate and be understood.
Her speech didn't emerge at the same time as her typically developing peers, so Makaton helped her be able to communicate from a young age prior to speech. Her speech is now emerging, which is fantastic, however it is still quite unclear so she uses Makaton to back up what she is trying to say and help her all day, every day!
Despite having a work-based knowledge of Makaton before having children (and understanding that it was there to support speech, not be instead of) I had still been worried that she may not want to try to talk once she was a confident signer - but this has not at all been the case. It has encouraged her speech all the way. Being a visual learner she picks up signs quite easily. She used to just do the sign, but now she will attempt the word alongside it. So it really does work and I love it!
Lucinda and I recently were part of the Carpool karaoke video, 50 Mums | 50 Kids | 1 Extra Chromosome, where we all sang our song and signed it with Makaton. It's been a huge success and has brought Makaton further into the public eye - and it is being talked about and learnt now in more schools etc. I couldn't be prouder!