Key signing refers to a semi-adoption of sign language where only the key words in each sentence are signed, without the full adoption of AUSLAN grammar and perhaps with only the 'essential words'. Key-Signing is often the first step to learning AUSLAN for both non-signing adults and children. It is often used in teaching sign to Pre and Primary School children and forms a large part of the Auslan as LOTE curriculum in formative years.
Key signing, on its own, does not constitute a language, but does form the first stage to learning Auslan. As with the development of any second language, nouns and basic adjectives are often the first to be learned. In most areas of Australia Key sign constitutes the first 2-4 stages in Auslan as a LOTE and most beginner level courses in sign language.
This website includes Bilby Publishing's Sign Image Bank of over 5000 words. During 2005 just under 1 million sign images were viewed and printed from the site by a little over 20,000 users.
These are categorised and indexed with keywords and usage divided by state.
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The Makaton Communication system utilises gesture, pictures and diagrams to assist communication. The system includes a short list of signs (approx 300-500 in Australia), based on words most frequently used in everyday conversation. Then signs from British Sign Language were initially used, however in Australia MOST Makaton users actually utilise AUSLAN signs. Makaton uses matched signs to words and pictures, so that as you speak you sign at the same time. Makaton users are first encouraged to communicate using signs, then gradually, as a link is made between the word and the sign, the signs are dropped and speech takes over.
For some children and adults, combining symbols, signs and speech together is proving to be an effective way of developing literacy skills.
Makaton is generally used in the disability field as either an alternatives to spoken and written language, or as support where a child or adult has either very limited or little or no effective speech and written skills. It is an augmentative communication system, it is not a language and is often used in intellectual or developmental disability areas.