How is Key Word Sign helpful?

  • Home
  • >
  • How is Key Word Sign helpful?

There are many benefits to using Key Word Sign to communicate. You may be doing much more than you realise to support communication and language development when you use Key Word Sign!

Little boy showing Hashtag sign with hands

Key Word Sign encourages eye contact and attention

Making eye contact and paying attention to other people is an important skill that is needed to develop our communication. When we sign as we speak, we become more interesting to look at. This can help the person we are communicating with to stay focused on the conversation.

Key Word Sign helps understanding

Speech is usually fast with many words and sometimes complex concepts. It can be difficult for people with a communication disability to understand what is being said. Using Key Word Sign helps us to speak slower, in shorter phrases or sentences, and to use more simple language that makes our speech easier to understand.

Key Word Sign develops vocabulary and language skills

Children and adults with little or no speech often rely on their body language and gestures to get their message across. To be able to develop language skills people need to be able to use more words (increase vocabulary) and to combine them in a way that makes sense (language skills). Key Word Sign helps children and adults who do not use speech to develop these skills.

Key Word Sign reduces frustration and encourages communication

Imagine how you would feel if you were trying to get a message across and no one could understand you. You might gradually give up, withdraw from social interaction, or only communicate about your basic needs. Key Word Sign gives people a way of communicating about a wide range of topics and to say how they feel or what they think. This reduces the frustration of not being understood and encourages people to communicate more.

Key Word Sign builds on natural gesture

Learning to use Key Word Sign builds on the gesturing that children use before they can talk. We all use gesture, but there is a limit to what we can communicate using gesture alone. Key Word Sign uses consistent gestures or ‘signs’ that have an agreed meaning. This means it is possible to expand the range of things that a person can communicate about.

Key Word Sign will not stop speech from developing

Research shows that using Key Word Sign will not stop children from speaking if that is possible for them. Because children are surrounded by speech and will always use what is easiest for them, they will develop speech if they are able to. Key Word Sign is a great bridge to using speech if that is going to be possible. Key Word Sign gives children a way to be part of and learn about communication and how it works – taking turns, asking questions, making comments, using greetings.