Brendan has been profoundly deaf since birth. Michael, who could hear as a child, gradually lost all of his hearing. Although the men use some British Sign Language (BSL) and a number of signs they have devised during the 17 years they have known each other, Makaton signing is the main way they chat to each other. Team Leader, Andy, encourages this as it helps to avoid confusion and is easier for new staff members to pick up than BSL.
‘It’s so important that people who can’t communicate verbally still have a voice.’ Andy, Team Leader
Makaton was created in the 1970s by three speech and language therapists. The word ‘Makaton’ is formed from the first syllables of each of their names.
Passionate about Makaton, Andy would like it to be taught in all schools. He has found it helpful not only in communicating with Brendan and Michael, but also with other service users with communication difficulties and some of his own family members, too. Andy is trained to Level 3 in Makaton and hopes to become a tutor so that he can teach others, not just in social care, but in all walks of life.