Key Word Sign & Gesture (KWS&G) is a communication approach where signs for key words are used as the person speaks at the same time. KWS&G is used by persons with complex communication needs, as well as the communication partners who interact with them.

KWS&G is one form of Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) approach. Its practice is not new and has been developed for individuals with multiple and severe disabilities in the United Kingdom since 1970s. KWS&G is used to support the communication development of hearing children or adults who are unable to speak, or whose speech is difficult to understand. The use of KWS&G is not intended to replace speech at all; rather, it is embraced as a total communication approach where the communication partner would speak and sign at the same time, and use any visual referent (e.g. object, picture, and/or photograph). Research debunks the myth that the use of KWS&G impedes speech development. Using Key Word Sign, your child can then least convey his/her message across, hence reducing frustration and communication breakdowns.

KWS&G may be used:

  • 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 and that the use of sign and gesture can facilitate the communication success
  • As an alternative to speech – signing is an effective alternative means of communication in the absence of speech
  • As a means to help/facilitate understanding of the person with communication difficulty and/or the communication partner

Key Word Sign & Gesture Training

Basic Key Word Sign Workshop

At Happy Talk, we are qualified to be able to conduct Key Word Sign Training workshops. Please contact us if you would like us to conduct a Basic Key Word Sign Workshop at your organisation/centre, and for details of the program description.

The BASIC Key Word Sign & Gesture Workshop provides an introduction to the use of key word signing as a form of total communication approach. Basic workshops assume no previous sign experience. During the workshop, participants will be taught the ‘when’, ‘how’ and ‘why’ of using signs and gestures to develop/facilitate communication skills.

The workshop aims to equip participants with the fundamental knowledge and skills to be able to use KWS&G effectively and efficiently. The workshop is interactive and provides participants with many opportunities in hand-on practice and use of key word sign in activities. The number of participants per group is usually kept small (no more than 15 participants) due to the nature of the workshop where signing accuracy is involved.

Refresher/Advanced Key Word Sign Workshop

REFRESHER Workshops are for those who have basic signing skills (i.e. have at least attended the Basic Workshop) but would need to revise the BASIC background information, increase their vocabulary and practice sign fluency. Teaching strategies and practical hints are included. Refresher workshops are typically organized upon request following the presentation of a BASIC workshop, and its content can be specifically catered to its participants.