The Makaton Charity

The Makaton Charity exists to ensure that everyone living with learning or communication difficulties has the tools and resources they need to communicate.

The Makaton Charity is a Registered Charity No. 1119819


Intellectual property

Except as permitted under the terms of any valid collecting society licence, no part of our products may be reproduced, disseminated or published or sold to the public in any form (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise).

Reproduction in full in any form, any resale or commercial hire or lending of the materials, or any commercial exploitation of copies of the materials is strictly prohibited.

Certain uses are permitted by the copyright holder without the need for written permission; this includes making limited photocopies of selected elements in this resource for individual use. For full details please email and this information will be sent to you.



Being able to communicate is one of the most important skills we need in life. Almost everything we do involves communication; everyday tasks such as learning at school, asking for food and drink, sorting out problems, making friends and having fun. These all rely on our ability to communicate with each other.

For those who have experienced the frustration of being unable to communicate meaningfully or effectively, Makaton really can help. Makaton takes away that frustration and enables individuals to connect with other people and the world around them. This opens up all kinds of possibilities.

Makaton is a language programme using signs and symbols to help people to communicate. It is designed to support spoken language and the signs and symbols are used with speech, in spoken word order. This helps provide extra clues about what someone is saying. Using signs can help people who have no speech or whose speech is unclear. Using symbols can help people who have limited speech and those who cannot, or prefer not to sign.


Is Makaton the same as BSL?

Makaton is designed to help hearing people with learning or communication difficulties. It uses signs and symbols, with speech, in spoken word order.

BSL is the language of the deaf community in the UK. It is a naturally evolving language, with its own grammar, word order and has regional variations.

Wherever Makaton is used in the world, the signs from the sign language of that country are used. Our sign advisors select signs that look like a word and are easy to make. Once a sign is selected to be used with Makaton this becomes the sign that is used across the whole country. This means that if a Makaton user needs to move to another school or town, the signs used there will be the same as they use in their current location.