Top Tips for Signing

Many of our participants and their carers use signing to communicate with each other and others. You can use signs to help communicate with people who are deaf or people who have communication difficulties. Makaton is used to support spoken language. BSL (British Sign Language) is a full language used by the deaf. The signs used in Makaton are the same as those in BSL.


Even learning a few key signs can aid communication between volunteers, staff and participants.
Its great if you can learn all the signs you need but don’t worry if you can’t.

A few hints for when you’re communicating in sign
 Stand where the person you’re communicating with can easily see you. You don’t
necessarily have to be close. Signing can work well at a distance too
 If there is a light behind you it can be difficult to see what you are saying, so try moving to
one side
 Your hands need to be visible so think about what you are wearing. Black gloves against a
black coat make it much more difficult to see signs
 Try and stand where you can be seen without the rider having to turn to look at you. If they
have to turn to look it will affect their riding.
 Remember if they are holding their reins they will need to let go to sign back. There can be
a lot of stopping and starting in a session using sign. This might feel frustrating but it’s
important to communicate well.

For videos with lots of signs relating to many aspects of RDA life please visit:

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