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Why Makaton is so fantastic

Why Makaton is so fantastic

If you’ve not come across Makaton before it’s fantastic. And this is why…

Makaton is a form of sign language that uses symbols, signs and speech to enable children, young people and adults to communicate.

Makaton is similar to British Sign Language however it is a more efficient language programme to use with children as the signs are easy to copy and only focus on key words. It is designed to support spoken language and the signs and symbols are used with speech, in spoken word order.

Over 100,000 people use Makaton. It’s also used by children and adults with communication and learning difficulties and the community around them so people like teachers and health professionals,

Makaton has been shown to be useful to anyone who struggles with understanding concepts, those who have poor literacy skills, and those with English as an Additional Language.

By using Makaton, children and adults can take a more active part in life, because communication and language are the key to everything we do and learn.

Here are a couple of examples:

The Makaton website contains lots of useful resources and information about Makaton and there is also a free resource section. This Christmas, they are running a daily advent calendar so check it out.

This Christmas, we’re encouraging as many businesses, families, schools and individuals to all learn ‘We Wish You a Merry Christmas’ using Makaton signs. This unique fundraising event is part of our Imagine If campaign. An awareness and fundraising campaign aiming to highlight what it is like to have a learning disability and show what’s important to young people with learning disabilities and their families.

The Great Big Leeds Mencap Singalong is a fundraising event for EVERYONE! With a step-by-step video teaching you all the signs you need and how to put them together, learn this well known Christmas song. For more information about the campaign and how to get involved in this fun and unique initiative, visit the Leeds Mencap website: https://www.leedsmencap.org.uk/events/the-great-big-leeds-mencap-singalong/

Here’s some of the team showing us how it’s done using Makaton:

We are asking participants to either make a donation or raise sponsorship to take part. Once complete, share your video with us and on social – don’t forget to use the hashtag #leedsmencapsingalong. Please return it to us by Friday 18th December.

Imagine If…

94% of Leeds Mencap families said that they have felt more isolated during Covid-19

77% of families supporting children with learning disabilities have experienced increased anxiety and 94% have felt more isolated than usual during the COVID-19 pandemic according to a survey conducted by Leeds Mencap.

The recent survey was of parents and carers that use Leeds Mencap’s services and they were asked about their recent experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic.  Cath Lee, CEO of Leeds Mencap, explains:

‘We know that COVID 19 has been challenging for many families across the country. Our recent survey has confirmed what we have been told anecdotally over the past 6 months by the families that use Leeds Mencap. The current pandemic has put them under incredible strain with many feeling overwhelmed, isolated and alone as much of the usual support around them has disappeared overnight. We are now looking at how we can adapt what we do to help more families.’

The survey launches Leeds Mencap’s new Imagine if campaign which aims to highlight what it is like to have a learning disability and show what’s important to young people with learning disabilities and their families. 

15,000 people in Leeds have a learning disability in Leeds: with this number growing Leeds Mencap are determined to get people in the city talking about the issues that families and people with learning disabilities face.

The Imagine if campaign features families and children as well as staff, volunteers and supporters talking about having a learning disability.

Cath Lee says “What our survey revealed was that families valued the services and support Leeds Mencap offers, and how important our activities have been during COVID-19. With our Imagine If campaign we want to highlight some of the issues that have affected children with learning disabilities during this time, such as them not being able to see friends or family and not understanding why they are unable to take part in their usual activities – like our youth clubs.”


For more information contact:

Sarah Hooker, Leeds Mencap, on 0113 235 1331 or sarah.hooker@leedsmencap.org.uk  or donate at www.leedsmencap.org.uk/donate

About Leeds Mencap:

Leeds Mencap is a local and independent charity that was created by and for, people in Leeds with learning disabilities. We provide essential support, advice and care to children and adults with learning disabilities, along with their families and carers. We do this through a range of activities, including; our specialist playroom for families with very young children with special needs, social groups for children and young adults, sibling support, school holiday play schemes and parent and carer support groups. We make a difference because we work with families at any point along their journey, not only improving the life experience of the person with a learning disability but recognising the impact on the whole family and providing support, guidance and practical help.

Leeds Mencap. Registered Charity No. 1091809

Background information:

  • There are currently 15,000 people with a learning disability in Leeds.  This is a growing number and more support is needed.
  • Leeds Mencap is a local, independent charity and they need to raise all their own funds each year. They are affiliated to but do not receive any money from Royal Mencap Society (RMS).
  • The current COVID-19 crisis has seen many of Leeds Mencap’s income streams disappear overnight including income that we get from our room hire, community nursery and fundraising events and community and company income.
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