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Key Word Sign improving inclusivity

20-08-2021 Category: General Posted by: emily.roberts

News ImageImage: Marathon Health speech pathologists

COVID-19 has highlighted the challenges faced by Australians with communication disability, and now that masks are mandatory, it’s important to know how to ensure inclusive communication practices.

Key Word Sign is the use of manual signs combined with natural gestures, to support verbal communication. Not-for-profit Marathon Health, are now able to offer this training virtually – and encourages businesses, schools, educators, parents and anyone interested, to sign up and learn how to incorporate inclusive communication practices.

Amy Simpkin, Marathon Health Speech Pathologist and registered Key Word Sign presenter, says the Key Word Sign training simply builds on natural gesture, body language and spoken words.

“It’s an easy way to create an inclusive environment. Using manual signs borrowed from Auslan, you learn to sign only the key words in a sentence – providing visual information alongside speech,” Ms Simpkin said.

Key Word Sign was developed in England in the 1970s and has been used globally to improve communication since. More information about Key Word Sign and how to get involved can be found at

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