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Makaton Sign and Symbol for children with neurodisability

Published July 2014

Download the full evidence PDF summary: WTE alternative communication systems

PLEASE NOTE: This summary was produced more than 4 years ago. Information provided may be out of date. If you think it would be helpful to update this summary please contact us at

What Were We Asked?

We were asked to what extent the use of Makaton Sign & Symbol can support the communication of children who have neurological conditions.

Key Findings:

  • Makaton Sign & Symbol is one form of Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) system. It uses both gestures and pictures to support conversation.
  • The evidence for Makaton is moderate rather than strong.
  • This does not mean that Makaton or other AAC systems and strategies are not effective, just that the research carried out so far has not been robust
This information is produced by PenCRU researchers and reviewed by external experts. The views expressed are those of PenCRU at the University of Exeter Medical School and do not represent the views of the Cerebra charity, or any other parties mentioned. We strongly recommend seeking medical advice before undertaking any treatments/therapies.