Key Word Sign as a powerful support to speech difficulties

Published: 03 Jun 2022 Tagged: AACAugmentative and Alternative CommunicationAuslanAustralian Sign Languagechildrencognitive developmentCommunicationcommunication disabilitycomprehensionconversationdeafnesshearingKey Word SignKWSlanguage delaySpeakablespeech and language pathologyspeech disorderspeech language pathologistspeech pathologistSpeech Pathologyspeech therapytoddlers
Key Word Sign as a powerful support to speech difficulties

A child's development is a moment of many surprising milestones. However, some of theses milestones might manifest in different moments than the expected, such as language delay. Key Word Sign is a simplified version of manual signing that is also a very efficient communication tool for language delay and similar conditions. It is based on natural gestures and body language, which make up a large part of how we interact on a daily basis. We use the signs of Auslan, the Australian deaf community's language. Both children and adults may benefit from the Key Word Sign.

The use of signs does not replace spoken words, but it does aid in language comprehension and development at any age. Key Word Sign employs a core vocabulary of carefully chosen words that include concepts and ideas. Each hand sign corresponds to a word or concept. Rather than signing every word in the communication, signs are utilised for the words that provide the most relevant information.

Key Word Sign has five principles:

  • Speech and sign go hand in hand.
  • If applicable, use whole grammatical sentences and emphasise the signed word orally.
  • Only the keywords in your sentence should be signed.
  • To enhance meaning, use facial expressions and body language.
  • Teach relevant, interactive signs that allow communicators to comment, question, request, protest, and share their feelings and opinions.

The benefits from introducing Key Word Sign when communicating with your children are many, as you can see below:

  • Visual information is provided with voice, which can help visual learners.
  • It has a longer duration than speech, which can help communicators who require more time to comprehend information.
  • Encourages an excellent language model in which we speak slowly, simply, and emphasise the most essential terms.
  • Because signals are easier to generate than words, they increase the chances of effective interactions.
  • Encourages language development when speech is still developing.
  • Reduces frustration by providing a means for communicators to voice their requirements.
  • Hearing children's reading abilities are improved because they are more likely to recall a word learned in conjunction with a sign.
  • Their brain is designed to learn math in connection with the signals they were taught, thus they have improved their math skills.
  • The dexterity required to make the signs improves children's motor abilities.
  • Because the music, lyrics, and signs increase memory and vocabulary, it creates stronger pathways for remembering songs.
  • Because the signs are based on Auslan, the official language for the hearing impaired, they can reach a broader audience.
  • Encourages you and your youngster to pay attention to each other.
  • Boost your chances of having effective and good verbal relationships.
  • When demands and wishes can't be conveyed verbally, it reduces frustration.
  • Assist visual learners and give them more time to assimilate information (signs last longer than speech).
  • If you have delayed/poor motor control or synchronisation of upper level motor abilities, it may be simpler to perform.
  • Encourage fine motor skills and body awareness.

If you feel you and your child might need to use Key Word Sign to enhance your communication skills, Speakable’s team has experts prepared to provide the support you need and present many other solutions related to the presented diagnosis. In case you need your child to be assessed regarding speech and language developmental skills, contact us!

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