Key word signing

Join Elaine and friends in these special online sessions for fun songs and stories to help you and your little one learn key word signing.

What is key word signing?

Key word signing is the use of manual signs, facial expressions and natural gestures with spoken words to assist communication for those that are pre-verbal or have communication difficulties. It is one of the most widely used strategies for people that cannot communicate by speech alone. We already use signs and gestures in our everyday life, by using signing we are simply expanding on these gestures and giving them more purpose.

Like Auslan, key word signing uses Australian signs and gestures to communicate however, unlike Auslan, key word signing uses speech when signed. The signing is simplified, using just the key words of the sentence which, unlike Auslan, keeps the same structure as spoken English.  Auslan is a visual language and has its own structure, grammar and culture.

With babies and toddlers, learning key word signing can help learn spoken language quicker and easier.

It helps to:

  • slow speech, making it easier for the child to pick out individual words
  • match the word to the object
  • increase bonding between carer and child
  • release oxytocin – the bodies natural ‘happy drug’
  • reduce frustration and tantrums
  • increase self esteem and confidence
  • encourage imitation and comprehension
  • give a broader ability to communicate as it uses vocal and visual tools.


Keyword Signing class - Colours

[Length: 37 minutes 29 seconds]

Keyword sign Week 1 Small

[Length: 31 minutes 36 seconds]