My Makaton Mission

Being able to communicate is one of the most important skills we need in life. For our College students it is often one of the biggest challenges they face.

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. Let Carl explain more...

Hello my name is Carl Walshe, I work at Henshaws College and I am making it my mission to become a qualified Makaton Tutor. I am 27 years old and have worked in different special needs settings for the past 9 years.

I have always had a passion for signed communication, having grown up with friends who were deaf or had communication difficulties even as a child I made it my goal to communicate with them as effectively as I could.

Carl using Makaton with a young boy

I did a British Sign Language level one course about 8 years ago, which then fuelled my passion even more. I have done a two-day Makaton Foundation Workshop at Henshaws College and then the three-day Enhancement Workshop in Bradford, before going onto the five-day Tutor Course in Wyboston. So I just have my Part 2 to do to achieve my mission!

Makaton is an incredible tool for breaking down barriers and getting as many people involved and included when it comes to communication and I see so many positive examples of the benefits every day. As well as my job I also work a lot with my best friend’s son who is called Zack (pictured above). He has global developmental delay and some speech problems, and uses Makaton signs to help with his communication. Zack is great with using Makaton, we work on signs he needs for school and signs he wants to know for fun!

At Henshaws College I run Makaton skill sharing sessions for the staff to attend: they are very popular. I also teach, and during my lessons with the students we play a Makaton sign game as a warm up. Myself and the students also created a Makaton themed video where we out into the local community at the Christmas fair teaching members of the public Christmas Makaton signs and telling them all about Makaton.

Each week I get involved with Makaton on twitter for #wetalkmakaton on Mondays. I have connected with lots of other users of Makaton, which is a great networking opportunity.

My dream is to be involved in introducing the Makaton language programme to another country and helping develop the Core Vocabulary there. I want to carry on developing my skills and attending Makaton courses and become a qualified Makaton tutor to teach as many people as I can all about Makaton.

Good luck Carl! To find out more about Makaton go to The Makaton Charity.

To find out more about Henshaws College and our flexible courses for disabled people aged 18-25, visit our College web pages.

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