Is Makaton The Same As British Sign Language (BSL)?

A question I’m often asked is whether Makaton is the same as British Sign Language – many parents with young children will be all too familiar with #Cbeebies‘ Mr Tumble who uses Makaton.

Makaton was devised in the 1970s and uses signs and symbols alongside speaking.

It is not the language of the Deaf community, rather it is used to support spoken English for people with communication difficulties, such as Down syndrome, cognitive impairments, people who have had strokes etc.

Key words are signed, and many of the signs are taken from BSL so if you learn BSL you will recognise a lot.

Other signs are created to be more visually linked to what they represent and be easier to remember.

Unlike BSL, Makaton does not have regional variations, the signs are the same all over the UK.