Happy Key Word Sign Awareness Day

This October 10, let your fingers do the talking!

Did you know 1.2 million Australians suffer from a communication disability? At least 1 in 7 of those affected will need formal assistance in communicating, with the majority made up of children and older people.

What is Key Word Sign?

Not all communication needs to be spoken or written. Key Word Sign (KWS) is an alternative form of communication that relies on the use of natural gestures, facial expressions and body language. It is not a sign language, but it borrows the signs from the sign language of the country it is used in. In Australia this is Auslan.

By encouraging the use of eye contact to aid in understanding, KWS supports the development of language skills and an increase in a person’s vocabulary

KWS Awareness Day - 1

10 October is Key Word Sign Awareness Day

KWS Awareness Day falls on the 10th day of the 10th month, to celebrate the 10 fingers that are so good to sign with!

At Scope, we created Key Word Sign Awareness Day back in 2017 to raise awareness of this unique and effective way of communicating for adults and children with speech difficulties.

KWS can be paired with other forms of Alternative and Augmentative Communication like communication boards, picture boards and books. Today many children and adults use it as a primary form of communication, or to communicate quickly and easily with their family and friends.

Here is how you can make a difference

  • Have a conversation using Key Word Sign. Check out the Key Word Sign videos on our YouTube channel for some examples.
  • Want to sing a different song? Check out YouTube – there’s lots of songs sung with Key Word Sign. You can even start practicing how to sign your Christmas carols!
  • Don’t want to sign a song? What about reading a story book to a child and signing the key words or signing while playing a game?
  • Why not have a Silent Morning Tea in your workplace? Better yet – host your very own Virtual Silent Morning Tea! Here are some tips to host a successful Silent Morning Tea using Key Word Sign to communicate, along with free downloadable resources for the day. While you’re at it, share photos of your Silent Morning Tea and tag us at @scopeaust on social media, using the hashtag #SilentMorningTea

We invite everyone interested in Key Word Sign to do something to mark this day. Happy signing!