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The Doris Duan-Young Autism Center Image Credit: Supplied

Communication is one of the most important skills of our life. Almost everything we do, it involves communication. But, for many people, communication is a challenge. To break the communication barrier, and enable everyone to communicate effectively, The Doris Duan-Young Autism Center (DDY) provides Makaton language programme. The center has licensed Makaton tutor to run the programme and to provide training and to certify the professionals.

Let’s learn more about it.

Makaton- a unique language programme

Makaton is a kind of language programme using signs and symbols that enables the person with speech-language difficulties to communicate. It is uniquely designed to support spoken language. The signs and symbols are used along with speech in spoken word order. Moreover, signs provide extra clues about what someone is saying, and helps the person having either no speech or unintelligible speech. Symbol helps them communicate who cannot or prefer not to sign.

Makaton is not a sign language

It is important to understand that Makaton is not a sign language. Sign language is naturally evolved language of deaf community. It has own grammar and word order. However, Makaton is designed for hearing people with communication difficulties, to communicate using sign, and symbol with speech, in spoken word order.

Makaton for all

Makaton is flexible and can be personalized to go with any age group and ability. It can be used both for children who cannot talk yet or adults who need hand gestures to communicate. At DDY, group of children with autism, intellectual impairments, Down syndrome, learning impairments, and expressive speech delay have seen significant changes in their communication skills after including the Makaton programme.

Makaton- a building blocks of communication

Makaton facilitate the prerequisite of communication skills including attention and listening, comprehension, memory, recall and organization of language. People with communication difficulties experience frustration and challenging behaviors, of being unable to communicate. Makaton actually helps them to connect with others, and takes away that frustration causing behavioral issues.

Core vocabulary

The core vocabulary signs and symbols is the starting point to learn Makaton. These vocabularies are organised into eight stages and additional. All these stages are learning into four levels of training.

The Doris Duan-Young Autism Center, as a well-known multidisciplinary treatment facility for children with Autism and other Intellectual/Developmental disorders in Dubai Healthcare City, is providing the Makaton language programme.

At present, SLT department at DDY have two Makaton professionals, one is a licensed Makaton tutor, and another is Makaton level 1 & 2 trained. Makaton tutor provides all four levels of training and certifies professionals and parents. The tutor supervises the trained professionals to develop accuracy of signing skills to their clients. In addition, DDY provides ‘My choice pad’ apps, programmed by the Makaton charity to communicate for non-verbal kids.