I am a mum of 2 boys. My younger son William is now 17 and attending our local Special School 6th form. He has a dual diagnosis Down syndrome and autism with other complex needs. We have used Makaton since William was a baby and continue to use it today. I wanted to tell you more about Special iApps and the story of why we started creating educational tools as well as give you more details and insight on the new collaboration between The Makaton Charity and Special iApps and how this can support you.
Why Use Makaton Symbols?
When William was 5 years old, I founded Special iApps which is a not-for-profit social enterprise developing educational apps for children with special educational needs. William not only uses our apps, but he also tests and evaluates them as we develop our products and update or extend content. He has been the inspiration behind Special iApps throughout. In fact, Special Words and Special Stories were created specifically for him. Starting a non-profit meant that we could share what we knew we could do for our own son with other kids like him. Over the years our work through Special iApps has made a difference to tens of thousands of children’s lives.
Since we started developing in 2011 incorporating Makaton Symbols has been one request that kept cropping up time and time again. Over the years we have seen parents and professionals use Makaton Symbols in our apps. There is a long list of reasons why doing this makes a very powerful learning tool. It is very quick and easy to create accessible personalised learning resources and communication materials for Makaton users of all ages and abilities using these tools. Helping progress educational outcomes and developmental skills alongside speech and communication. Improving literacy, numeracy, working memory, fine motor skills along with soft skills as we have feedback that self-confidence and self-esteem blossoms.
My son William was the first to try using Makaton Symbols within Special Words Plus and I was amazed when he quickly sailed through over 450 Core Vocabulary and Makaton Signing for Babies and Families Symbols. He also explored using Makaton Symbols in our other apps and you will soon be able to download and use these yourself as will be available in Special Stories Plus and Special Spelling Plus. Our spelling app with downloaded Makaton Symbols is a fantastic way to spell any word, even those tricky high-frequency words which can be difficult to learn as not easy to represent pictorially but a breeze when using Makaton Symbols. During my time exploring the new Makaton Membership I have found some real gems, things I did not know existed.