At East Victoria Park Education Support Centre we use Key Word Sign (KWS) as a tool or strategy which can be used to support students with communication difficulties to understand and get their message across to others. KWS extends the students language skills as their speech is still developing to promote their regulations. KWS adds simplified signs to spoken words, the key words in a message are signed and the sentence spoken. The use of facial expression and body language adds to the meaning. KWS supports the development of our student’s speech, language, communication, and social interaction skills leading to functional communication and participation.


  • Provide and support students, parents/caregivers and staff in using KWS to understand and communicate with others
  • Reduce our student’s frustration, as they will develop these tools to assist with expressing their needs.
  • Encourage a good language model where we slow our speech rate, simplify what we say and emphasise the most important words.
  • Provide resources for students, parents/caregivers and staff to practice or promote to others.
  • To incorporate with AAC (Augmentative and alternative communication) into KWS PowerPoint when presented at rotations and in their booklets to allow students to recognise and use their communication device while doing KWS.


  • Staff to use a gesture and a word at the same time.
  • Whenever the student uses a gesture to communicate, acknowledge it and praise them.
  • Staff to points at objects or use gestures throughout the day when interacting with the student.
  • Staff to use sign and speech together
  • Staff to use sign key words but say the whole sentence
  • Use visual strategies such as your body language and facial expression
  • If student disengage, staff to present an alternative activity that better matches the needs of the student.