Makaton is a language programme designed to provide a means of communication to individuals who cannot communicate efficiently by speaking. Makaton has been effectively used with individuals who have cognitive impairments, autism, Down's syndrome, specific language impairment, multisensory impairment and acquired neurological disorders that have negatively affected the ability to communicate.
The Makaton Language Programme uses a structured multimodal approach to teach language and literacy skills, through instruction involving a combination of speech, signs, and graphic symbols used concurrently. It consists of a Core Vocabulary of roughly 450 concepts that are taught in a specific order (there are 8 different stages). For example, stage 1 involves teaching vocabulary for immediate needs, like 'eat' and 'drink'. Later stages contain more complex and abstract vocabulary such as time and emotions. Once basic communication has been established, the student can progress in their language use, using whatever modes are most appropriate. Also, although the programme is organised in stages, it can be modified and tailored to the individual's need .In addition to the Core Vocabulary, The Makaton Charity has illustrated a Makaton resource of over 7,000 concepts.