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Using Makaton at the Dentist

For some patients with communication difficulties, we need to adapt how we communicate with them. This includes additional methods, including using Makaton...


What is Makaton?

Makaton is a recognised language which is multi-modal, using:
  1. Signs
  2. Symbols
  3. Speech
The signs are adapted from an individual country's sign language (e.g. British Sign Language/American Sign Language etc.) The language is useful for many patient groups, including:
  • People with Learning Disabilities
  • People with Autism
  • People recovering from a Stroke
  • People living with Dementia
  • Baby signing
You might have seen Makaton on children's TV shows, such as CBeebie's Mr Tumble! 

Resources for Dentistry 

There are resources available on the Makaton Charity's website which can be useful if you treat any of the patient groups above. They have a really useful resource for common dental signs/symbols and the British Dental Association produced an excellent video resource for Learning Disabilities week to raise awareness of the use of Makaton for people with Learning Disabilities accessing dental practices. 



You can learn simple signs to use for your patients that can make a big difference for these patients. Check out my video below I made when taking over Dentistry Online's Instagram for Autism Awareness Week. 


If you want to learn more about Makaton, you can complete courses. I have completed Makaton Level 1 and 2 which was a course over 2 days. Similar to British Sign Language (BSL), to learn more about the language, vocabulary and grammar, you can continue up Levels on further courses. All Makaton courses should be performed by a qualified Makaton Tutor who have to register with the charity and a full list can be found on their website


Do you have any questions about Makaton or treating patients with additional needs? Please leave them in the comments below


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