SRF Program

  • Key Word Sign

    VEYLDF Alignment

    Item uses these practice principles: Reflective practice, Partnerships with families, High expectations for every child, Respectful relationships and responsive engagement, Equity and diversity, Assessment for learning and development, Integrated teaching and learning approaches, Partnerships with professionals.

    Item responds to these sub-outcomes: Children begin to understand how symbols and pattern systems work, Children interact verbally and non-verbally with others for a range of purposes.


    Key Word Sign is a language program that aims to help people communicate using signs and symbols, ultimately supporting spoken language. Key Word Sign allows children and adults to communicate using signs and symbols in spoken word order and drop the signs and symbols at their own pace as they develop speech. The program is especially useful for people with no speech, limited speech or unclear speech.

    Detailed Costs

    The cost to attend a Key Word Sign training workshops is $150 per person.

    The Key Word Sign app, which contains signs, symbols and resources can be purchased for $40.

    Implementation Considerations

    Target population: people of all ages with learning or communication difficulties; and / or with an interest in developing their language and literacy skills. Can be used by parents and professionals. A particular version of Key Word Sign has been developed for babies and young children.

    Program / practice descriptions and details: Key Word Sign Victoria regularly runs training workshops.

    Key Word Sign resources include Getting Started with Key Word Sign (AUSLAN Edition); Key Signs CD-ROM; Key Word Sign Footy BookSign With Me: Learning Strategies for Key Word Sign (DVD); and Key Word Sign Posters.

    Program adaptability: Key Word Sign is flexible and can be adapted to suit the needs of individuals. Once an individual has learned the program's signs and symbols, they can adapt them to use in daily life. If unable to attend a training for Key Word Sign, individuals can learn the signs and symbols from the Key Word Sign Australia app. It is designed to be used on an iPad only.

    Training requirements: when the program is delivered to an entire service, all staff, regardless of their qualifications, are encouraged to participate in training. There are three types of workshops:

    1. basic workshops      
    2. presenter training: to become a Key Word Sign presenter
    3. refresher workshops.      

    To become a Key Word Sign presenter you will need to attend the one-day basic Key Word Sign workshop, successfully pass a process in which an application is evaluated by a committee, attend a four-day training course, and conduct a supervised workshop within 12 months of completing the training.

    Supervision / coaching: in order to become a Key Word Sign presenter, participants are supervised in delivering one workshop.
    Factors to consider: anyone can attend a workshop to learn Key Word Sign. Key Word Sign can also be learned through the Key Word Sign Australia app (however it is unclear if the app is a sufficient substitute for the workshop).

    ​Staffing: services should consider the cost of backfill when determining the cost of accessing this resource.

    Australian experience: the program was developed in the UK and has been adapted to an Australian audience by using Australian Sign Language and is called Key Word Sign.

    Strength of Evidence

    Not able to be rated