Signing for babies
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Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some frequently asked questions about the Makaton language and our Signing for Babies Mobile App. These are the questions that we are asked most often.

Questions about Makaton Signing for Babies

What are the main aims of using Makaton?

For early communication
To help a baby’s understanding
To help develop language skills
To build relationships
For some children, to develop literacy skills.

Will signing stop my child from speaking?

No, as long as you always speak when you are signing. Experience and research indicates that when Makaton is introduced, it actually encourages the development of speech and can help babies to be more sociable.

When should my baby start speaking?

Every child is different but most babies will begin to say their first words at around one year old. If they are not starting to speak or sign and you are concerned, see a Speech and Language Therapist for further advice. Once babies start to sign, speech is the next stage. However, if your baby is using a lot of signs, perhaps putting some together and not yet speaking, again, seek the advice of a Speech and Language Therapist.

Should I give up if my baby does not copy the signs?

Keep going! Think about how much and for how long we talk to babies before they start speaking. Hopefully, they will pick up the signing more quickly but it can still take a long time. In the meantime, seeing you signing will help your baby’s understanding, attention and social skills.

Why does everybody need to know the signs?

In order to communicate it is important that everyone who comes into contact with your baby is communicating in the same way (or ‘talking’ the same language). Babies will tend to do what everyone else is doing!

How can I get the rest of my family to learn the signs?

Share what you have learned. Though you are not qualified to teach Makaton, after this using this app you can share the signs you are using with your baby on a daily basis. You could ask others to buy the app or other Makaton training is available, some as Distance Learning. Contact the Makaton Charity or visit the Makaton website for information on other workshops and courses.

Introduce a ‘sign a week’. Every week display a different line drawing, and the matching symbol for everyone to see and be encouraged to use.

Do we sign every word that we speak?

You don’t need to with babies. Although we speak in longer sentences the idea of signing is to highlight the important words, the words that carry the meaning, in a sentence.

How precise do the signs have to be?

Babies will find many of the signs quite difficult, but it’s just like speech. Some speech sounds are more difficult but we encourage and accept any attempts babies make, and we always give the correct model for them to copy and learn. It’s exactly the same for signing. Your signs must be accurate so you can help your baby to learn to make his or her signs clearer.

When should I start using Makaton?

It is never too early to start introducing signing with a baby. Although children will not be expected to use the signs themselves before about 8 months old, they can become aware of and engage in finger-play, like clasping and pressing hands together, as early as 3 months. Just like speech, children have to begin to recognise and understand the signs before they will begin to use them. Starting early also gives you an opportunity to practise and get used to using the signs as part of your daily routine.

What signs should I start with?

The words and concepts in this app have been recommended by The Makaton Charity, following advice from parents and professionals working with babies and young children and provide a good point for starting to sign with babies. From the signs shown, select a few at a time to introduce to your baby. The signs chosen should be about things that are:

  • Enjoyable or important for your baby. Think about his or her likes, needs and wants.
  • Useful for you. Think about what extra words you need to encourage your baby.
At around 8 months of age your child will start to point. Encourage this. All babies do it. Your baby will point when he or she means ‘That’, ‘This’, ‘There’, ‘Here’, ‘You’, ‘I’. He or she will point at people or things he or she wants to have or wants you to look at. You can also point as you speak. This will encourage your baby to make gestures and signs.

Is it ok to make up signs?

Sometimes children will make up their own signs if they don’t know one or it is too difficult. Again, this is just like in speech when children will make up names for things. As long as everyone else knows what the child is talking or signing about and you model the word or sign correctly, accept what your baby does.

What if I don’t know a sign?

If you need to find out what a sign is check the resources, speak to a Makaton Tutor, or contact The Makaton Charity direct.

Queries about the Makaton Signing for Babies Mobile App

Which signs are included in the app?

The app compliments the Makaton Signing for Babies training materials and includes all signs and symbols available in these materials. A full list of signs in the app is displayed in the column on the right hand side of this page.

I have the app but it is freezing/not working as expected

There were instances of the app freezing on some iOS devices. iOS Version 2.0.0 saw a rebuild of the app which should eliminate any issues of this nature. Please ensure you have updated the app to the most recent version.

Is the Signing for Babies Mobile App available on Android/Windows devices?

The app is available for all devices running Android version 2.3 and above. You can download the app from the Google Play Store using this link: Download the Android version of the Makaton Signing for Babies Mobile App.

There are currently no plans to release a Windows Mobile version of the app.

Is the Signing for Babies Mobile App available outside the UK?

The Signing for Babies Mobile App is only available in the UK because it uses signs from British Sign Language.

Technical and signing support

Where can I get technical support for the app?

If you encounter any technical issues with using the app please contact DDL Ltd by email - support@ddluk.com

Where can I get support for signing with my child?

For support with Makaton signing for you baby or child please visit the Makaton website - www.makaton.org
Signs included in the app

The app contains all signs and symbols from the Signing for Babies training materials:

Session 1 - Introduction to Makaton: saying hello
Hello
Goodbye
Mummy
Daddy
Brother
Sister
Grandmother
Grandfather
Aunt
Uncle
Food
To Eat
A drink
To drink
More
All gone
To finish
Good
Bubbles
To sing

Session 2 - Makaton signing for babies: eating and drinking
Bed
To sleep
To sit
To stand up/get up
To wash
To bath
Biscuit
Milk
Water
Juice
Spoon
Toilet
Potty
Nappy
I/Me
You

Session 3 - Developing skills: going out
To look
To see
House
Home
Car
Bus
Buggy/Pram
What?
Where?
To go
To come
To give
Yes
No

Session 4 - Using Makaton every day: at play
Doll
Baby
Dog
Cat
Bird
To play
Book
Ball
Teddy

Session 5 - Tips for signing: help me
Hot (feeling hot)
Hot (food)
Cold
Clean
Dirty
Pain
Tummy ache
Teething
To help

Session 6 - Things to remember: listen carefully
To listen
To hear
A telephone
To telephone
Cow
Horse
Sheep
Pig
Duck
Fish
Chicken
Rabbit
Butterfly
Train
Aeroplane
Bicycle
Helicopter
Boat

Extra vocabulary
To change (nappy)
Rattle
Bib
Baby wipes
Dummy
Breast feeding
Apple
Banana
Hungry
Thirsty
Dinner
Clothes
To dress
To undress
Happy
Sad
Outside
Park
Flower
Tree
Elephant
Alligator/crocodile
Giraffe
Lion
To wait
To want
Again
Toys
Bricks
Music

Makaton Signing for Babies Mobile App is developed by DDL Ltd
DDL were established in 1999 and are now a market leader in providing specialist educational software and e-learning. We are an e-learning development company that really understand education and apply our specialist knowledge to design, programme and build innovative interactive software. Learn more about DDL here.
© DDL Ltd