Dentists Talk Makaton

Dentists Talk Makaton


Community dentists in Suffolk have become the first in the country to be recognised as Makaton friendly by the Makaton Charity.   The Makaton Friendly scheme is designed to recognise organisations that currently use Makaton and the people that use Makaton to feel welcome and enable them to access services.


A team of three dental nurses and one dentist from Community Dental Services (CDS CiC)  have been learning Makaton  to help communication with patients who have communication or learning difficulties.  Many of CDS's patients have learning difficulties and alternative methods of communication to help people understand their treatment can significantly ease anxiety.  It will enable clinical teams to explain procedures more effectively and gain patient consent.  The team will now train colleagues across the organisation in Makaton.


Amy Schiller, CDS CiC Operations Director for Suffolk said: 'Many of our patients have additional needs and it is important that we are always thinking about how we can make visiting the dentist easier for them.  In this instance, it was our own employees who were keen to make a difference and took the initiative to learn to talk Makaton.  This complements a lot of what we already have in place such as easy read guides to visiting the dentist and we really hope this will make a positive difference to our patients and their families.'


Sarah Drew, Makaton Friendly Co-ordinator said: "We are thrilled to award Community Dental Services Suffolk with Makaton Friendly status in recognition of enabling their employees to learn Makaton to support their patients. The Makaton Friendly scheme, which recognises establishments of all kinds where Makaton users will feel comfortable, is going from strength to strength. We are working with schools, emergency services, attractions, retail and hospitality outlets including many well-known brands. This ensures that the excellent work done by organisations such as Community Dental Services Suffolk continues within the community so that all visitors feel welcome."


All organisations that have been awarded Makaton Friendly status have demonstrated that they understand that different people use alternative ways to communicate and have created a supportive environment for people who have learning or communication difficulties.  Makaton is a language programme using signs and symbols to help people to communicate. It is designed to support spoken language and the signs and symbols are used with speech, in spoken word order helping to provide extra clues about what someone is saying.


CDS CiC is an employee owned social enterprise providing special care and paediatric dentistry and oral health improvement services across eastern and central England.  It operates a number of clinics across Suffolk.