Key Word Sign is a method of using sign and natural gesture in conjunction with speech. It is used with people who can hear but have little or no speech. Key Word Sign uses Auslan signs.
Why is Key Word Sign used?
Key Word Sign is useful for toddlers, pre-school children, school-aged children and adults with little or no speech. Key Word Sign may be used for a number of reasons:
- Until speech develops – the person is able to communicate through signing whilst speech and language skills continue to develop;
- As a supplement to speech – where the person’s speech is difficult to understand, the use of sign and gesture can assist;
- As an alternative to speech – signing is an effective means of communication in the absence of speech;
- As a temporary means of communication – for short-term use with familiar communication partners;
- As a means to help comprehension –use of key word sign to help others understand and learn. Model the use of sign.
Key Word Sign Australia works with state-based committees in New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria and Western Australia. Key Word Sign state committees offer training and support to the communication partners of children and adults with little or no speech. Demographic studies show that there are between 1 in 500 and 1 in a 1000 people who have significant communication difficulties i.e. cannot use speech as their only means of communication.
This may be due to:
- Developmental disabilities such as Down Syndrome, Autism or Cerebral Palsy
- Acquired disabilities such as Acquired Brain Injury, Stroke
- Progressive Disabilities such as Motor Neurone Disease, Parkinson’s Disease
These children and adults rely on other means of communication to replace or augment their speech. This is known as (Alternative and Augmentative Communication (AAC) or multi-modal communication. The options available for support includes the use of communication aids both electronic and non-electronic or unaided options eg. sign and natural gesture.
Their communication partners include:
- Parents & carers
- Kindergarten and Childcare staff
- Teachers & Education Assistants
- Supported employment staff
- Speech Pathologists, Occupational Therapists, Physiotherapists
- Disability Support Workers
Key Word Sign Australia has been actively involved in training, information sharing and developing resources to support the communication partners of people with little or no speech.
- Key Word Sign Australia App bit.ly/kwsapp
- Getting Started with Key Word Sign book bit.ly/gettingstartedkws
- Let’s Play with Sign book bit.ly/Letsplaywithsign
- The Key Word Sign AFL Footy book bit.ly/kwsfooty
- Key Word Sign Posters – Full Set bit.ly/kwspostersfull
- Key Word Sign Posters – Set of Five Posters bit.ly/kwsPosters5
- Key Word Sign Posters – Single Poster bit.ly/kswposter1
- Key Word Sign Australia (Scope)
The research evidence base for
Key Word Sign Webinar(2016) bit.ly/KWSWeb1
To find out more about Key Word Sign click here.
By Karen Bloomberg