Key Word Sign

Man using key word sign to commuicate 'good'.

The sign for ‘good’.

Key Word Sign is a simplified way of using manual sign. Key Word Sign uses the same signs as people who are deaf but it is used with people who can hear. It is often recommended for young children who are slow to develop speech. It may also be suggested for older children and adults who have little or no speech or speech that is difficult to understand.

We teach others how to use Key Word Sign by using it ourselves. When we use it, there are rules that we need to remember:

  1. Always use key word sign with speech
  2. Sign only the key words of the sentence
  3. Use as much gesture, facial expression and body language as possible
  4. Use Auslan signs

The most important question is why we want to use Key Word Sign with a particular person.

Image of Key Word Sign Line Drawings

Key Word Sign Line Drawings

Key Word Sign is used to:

  • Show a child the power of communication – to get someone’s attention, to get help, or to get more or less of something
  • Help the child to start putting words and signs together in simple sentences
  • Help the child, adolescent or adult understand what is being said to them
  • Teach the person a range of new words and concepts
  • Encourage the person to use the Key Word Signs that they know.

No one can be harmed by seeing too many signs – seeing and using Key Word Sign helps others to become better communicators. Find out about Key Word Sign workshops by visiting the Key Word Sign website in your state.

By Karen Bloomberg.