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10 Key Word Signs for Everyday Conversations

Key Word Sign (KWS) is a simplified form of manual signing that is designed to be used by and with people who have communication difficulties. It is different to AUSLAN (the sign language of the deaf and hard hearing community) as verbal speech is used along with the signs and only key words of the message are signed. 

For example, if you were saying “we have to go home to eat our sandwiches”. You would say this sentence by signing and emphasising these words: “we have to GO HOME to EAT our sandwiches”. 

Key Word Sign is great for individuals who are developing their language and aims to support understanding and expression of language. Lots of Key Word Signs are natural gestures that we would do without thinking. For example, ‘STOP’ is opening your hand with your palm facing away from your body. 

Here are some my favourite Key Word Signs for child learning communication and interaction with others:

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