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Frequently Asked Questions


Will using Key Word Sign stop my child from talking?

Speech is the most effective and efficient way of communicating with others. Therefore, no matter what type of alternative strategy we use with someone, they will continue to develop speech where possible. A child or adult with communication difficulties may use signing and/or other forms of Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) to help them communicate more effectively with others. 


Should I only use signing and not other forms of Augmentative and Alternative Communication?

Using Key Word Sign is just one way children and adults who have communication difficulties can communicate. It is also useful for most people who need help comprehending language. Using Key Word Sign however may not entirely meet all the communication needs of all persons across their daily environment and routines. To meet these different communication needs, the child or adult may need to use a combination of strategies, such as using gesture, pictures, photos or objects. In most situations, signing can be used in combination with these other approaches.


Won’t using signs make my child look different?

Using Key Word Signs are a natural extension of using everyday gestures. They are often very similar to gestures we use everyday when we talk. However, your child may look a little different because s/he is using more gestures than others would normally. People may look at a person combining speech and Key Word Signs but often it is because they are interested or impressed.


How many signs do I need to learn before I can start using signs with someone?

You only need one!

You don't need to be an expert in using signs or know a lot of signs before you can start. In fact you are already using a form of signing now with your use of natural gesture. It is important to select a few signs to start with that are important for the child or adult who you are using the signs with. Take into account their interests, what they want to communicate about and what activities they normally participate in.


I’ve been using Key Word Sign for weeks and my child hasn’t started using them. Should I stop signing and try something else?

It is sometimes difficult to keep motivated to use signing when the child or adult you are trying to communicate with is not responding or learning to use the signs. Don't give up! It is important to realise that sometimes it takes months of being exposed to the signs before we are expected to be able to use it.


How do I find a workshop to attend?

Please email workshops@kwsnsw.com to find an upcoming workshop.

How do I host a Key Word Sign Basic Workshop?

Register your interest at workshops@kwsnsw.com