7th April 2000 at 01:00

Makaton Vocabulary Development Project MVDP amp; Winslow Press Pack 1 pound;124.35 incl VAT Pack 2 pound;170.85 incl VAT Tel: 01276 61390

The Makaton core vocabulary training packs are designed for parents and carers to use at home.

Makaton is a language programme for encouraging communication skills in children and adults with learning difficulties, using speech, signs and symbols and focusing on functional vocabulary.

Pack 1 covers the first 2 stages of the core vocabulary, with stages 3 to 5 covered in pack 2; each has some additional vocabulary. Both packs use a variety of media including a spiral bound training manual, pocket books of signs and symbols, videos and audio cassettes.

The manual guides the reader on how to use the pack in friendly, plain English. The tone is reassuring and encouraging and there are explanations, snippets of advice, flexible option and self-assessment opportunities. The training is comprehensive in that it includes the rationale for the programme as well as how to use it.

The need for enjoyment of meaningful communication is stressed and the videos illustrate usage in real life situations.

In this way the programme is soundly based on our understanding of the pragmatics of communication.

Symbol use in a pre-reading, rather than communication function, is less well supported by research. The record sheets in pack 2 bring with them the danger that communication becomes a task rather than a social act, as well as the potential benefit of showing progress.

The authors predict the kinds of issues that might arise for users of the pack and cover them in the question and answer sections. There is a helpline number which is truly welcoming.

The packs are attractive and easy to use and the videos of everyday communications are delightful.

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