Key Word Sign (KWS) is the use of signs and natural gestures to support communication and language development of individuals with communication difficulties. KWS draws attention to the most important words or concepts within a sentence by adding a meaningful gesture to a spoken word.
It is important to acknowledge that KWS is not AUSLAN, the language of the Australian Deaf Community, as AUSLAN has its own sentence structure and typically allows for every word within a sentence to be signed. KWS is, however, based on AUSLAN signs. KWS was previously known as MAKATON within Australia.
KWS is a method of Alternative and Augmentative Communication (AAC). AAC is communicating without verbal speech and can include using facial expressions, gestures, pictures, written communication, as well as dedicated communication devices.
We will be exploring more about KWS in subsequent blog posts so look out for more content soon.
In the interim, for more information about KWS speak to your speech pathologist or check out: