Lifelong Learning by Caitlyn Chandler

Sarah Buckley Therapies & Lifelong Learning

Here at Sarah Buckley Therapies we are committed to promoting excellence in the field of speech and language therapy. This means that we value ongoing learning and skill development. We do this through placing a strong emphasis on continuing professional development for our own therapists at our practice and through offering a wide range of training and learning opportunities for others working with children with speech, language and communication needs. This blog is just one of the ways that we like to share ideas and strategies to support children’s speech, language and communication development.

We offer a range of learning and training opportunities for individuals at any stage of their speech and language career, whether you’re just embarking on your journey to becoming a speech and language therapist or are a qualified therapist looking to develop new skills.

We are also committed to providing quality training to parents, carers or those who work with children in schools. We know that we can have the greatest impact on children’s speech, language and communication development by upskilling those who support the child on a daily basis: parents, carers and teaching staff.

At the moment training opportunities that we offer include:

  • A work experience programme for individuals who are interested in speech and language therapy as a career
  • Communication Booster workshops for speech and language therapy students and prospective students
  • Communication Booster workshops for school staff
  • Communication Booster workshops for parents/carers
  • Makaton training for teaching staff and speech and language therapists
  • Makaton training for parents/carers

We are continually expanding the range of learning opportunities that we offer. For more information, please see our training and work experience pages. You can keep in touch with us to find out about upcoming training opportunities through following us on Facebook (@SBSpeechTherapy), Twitter (@SBSpeechTherapy) and by checking our website.

Caitlyn Chandler

Speech and Language Therapist



This month we are thinking about Makaton.

Makaton – what is it and why do we use it? Makaton is a language programme that uses signs and symbols to support communication. Unlike signed languages such as British Sign Language (BSL), Makaton is used alongside spoken language rather than instead of it. We use Makaton as an additional visual tool to support children and young people’s understanding of what is being said to them as well as their ability to effectively express themselves.

How do we use Makaton? Makaton is always used alongside spoken language, which means that we always speak as we sign. We do not sign every word that we speak and instead focus on the words that carry the most information – the key words. Take the sentence “the boy is running“, for example. As we are speaking this sentence, we would sign the words “boy” and “running” as these are the two words that carry the most information. Signing provides an extra visual “clue” and the child will begin to link the word they are hearing with the visual sign. They may then even begin to start using the signs themselves! Supporting children to use Makaton signs to communicate can be especially powerful for those who have difficulty communicating using spoken language alone.

Who do we use Makaton with? Here at Sarah Buckley Therapies we use Makaton with the children that we work with in schools and nurseries. But Makaton is not just limited to use with children in these settings! Almost every activity that we carry out throughout the day involves communication of some form or other, whether we are playing with friends, asking someone what they did at the weekend, or buying food from the supermarket. Makaton can be used in all these situations to support communication with children, young people and adults.

Have a go yourself! Below is a link to the Makaton Charity website where you can find out more information about Makaton.

Kate Saunders

Speech and Language Therapist