The Point is a Makaton Friendly Venue and we use Makaton to enhance communication throughout our work
Why we use Makaton
As many as 50% of all children entering school find speech, language and communication difficult and most children with special educational needs have communication difficulties. These can lead to challenges in behaviour, a lack of attainment and isolation.
To help children communicate our artists are trained in Makaton (the UK’s leading language programme for children and adults with communication or learning difficulties). It uses speech, signs and symbols and follows the natural development of language. It can also help children who are learning English as an additional language, helping them communicate straight away while also supporting their learning.
darts’ approach has always been built around inclusivity and communication – it was obvious to us that Makaton had a natural place within our work. Lucy Robertshaw (Assistant Director at darts) completed her training to be a Makaton Local Tutor and has now trained 16 of darts staff in how to use Makaton and runs regular refreshers.
How we use Makaton
Our musicians use Makaton signs to greet children and find out how they are feeling, to create and remember lyrics for songs and for allowing children the chance to choose the instruments they want to have. Teachers love that Makaton enables their pupils to express themselves, state choices and convey their feelings, whilst parents of children who engage in our work have told us that they have started using Makaton more at home and enjoyed stronger communication with their children as a result.
Our home, The Point, has been recognised nationally as a Makaton Friendly Venue and reception staff use Makaton signing to greet people coming into the building and answer questions, while our café staff are brushing up on their Makaton signs for food and drink.
We have been using Makaton with adults with dementia in order to improve communication when language starts to deteriorate. We run a family-friendly music festival where our volunteers have been learning the signs for bands, singing, tents and DJ. A highlight of our year are the Sing and Sign concert where our musicians have created new songs with young people at the Special Schools to perform.
We will continue to find ways of developing our use of Makaton so that we create an inclusive, supportive and welcoming environment for all.
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