Q. What is the difference between Signalong and Makaton?
A. Signalong and Makaton are both multi modal signing programmes, combining signs from BSL, speech and symbols and are designed to support those who have language and communication difficulties.
The main difference is the method the programmes are taught:
Signalong training, attendees are taught to analyse signs for their handshape, orientation, placement and movement, supported by clear line drawings. Once attendees understand the methodology it enables the user to learn signs forgotten due to lack of use and determine which signs are needed to benefit the needs of the learner. It also has the additional advantage of a larger sign vocabulary.
Makaton is taught in stages; they have a range of workshops available that are designed to meet the level of training that attendees need and provides symbol signs to use. It has the additional benefit for attendees to build a relationships with their Makaton tutor who can offer support in the future with communication .
Q. Why are signs different to ones I have seen/used elsewhere?
A. There are many different types of sign:
BSL (British Sign Language) – Visual and gestural language for the deaf community, has its own grammar and regional variations.
SSE (Sign Supported English) – Uses signs from BSL, alongside speech in spoken word order
Signalong and Makaton – multi modal signing programmes, combining signs from BSL, speech and symbols and are designed to support those who have language and communication difficulties.
Singalong is based on BSL – There are a few signs that have been adapted for ease of use and some signs invented where no appropriate BSL sign could be found or when ambiguity could have arisen.
They main thing to remember is to remain consistent with signs you are trained use in.
Q. Where can I learn new signs that is not covered in the training?
A. Signalong text messaging service: Text a sign request to an automated service available 24 hours a day. Text SIGN and the word or phrase to look up to 07446462146 to receive 4 free signs per month per user.
Sign Studio app ( currently free on iTunes)
Signalong website where you can purchase courses. Look out for their free poster to download every Friday!
Q. My child can speak do I still need to use sign?
A. Continuing to sign will help your child to learn new words and support their understanding of new concepts.
Signs can also assist communication for those children who uses speech but are still unclear to people who may not know your child well enough to understand them.
By Sue Brown