News - 20th April 2022

The key to communication

IMG_8948

Key Word Sign (KWS) supports communication and language development of children and adults with communication difficulties with speech, sign and gesture.

 

parkrunner Tanya Jarvis’ son Kobe uses Key Word Sign, which led Tanya to become a KWS Presenter. Tanya kindly volunteered to create a KWS grid explaining what parkrun is and how to get involved, and has also shared her own story to highlight how important it is to value every person’s way of communicating.

 

Kobe was diagnosed with 22q11.2 Deletion Syndrome (22q) at 18 months and was diagnosed with autism just before he turned four. 22q, or Velo Cardio Facial Syndrome, is a genetic syndrome caused by a deletion of a small segment of the long arm of chromosome 22. This diagnosis was a relief for my husband Jeremy and I because it gave us a reason as to why Kobe’s milestones were not being reached.

 

Speech and language delay are the most common clinical features of 22q and our biggest concern was communication. Key Word Sign, formerly known as Makaton, was introduced to me by therapists shortly after Kobe was diagnosed. KWS is used with children and adults that can hear. Key Word Signing borrows signs from Auslan. Auslan is the cultural language of the Australian Deaf community. Only the ‘key words’ are signed and speech is always used with signs.

 

Kobe was surrounded by signing and visuals to support his communication. He was exposed to a signing environment for 12 months until he actually signed back to me for the first time, which was ‘help’. At the age of seven he knew 150 signs and could put seven signs together. When he was 10, his verbal language exploded. Kobe always has something to say! Signing may be used to supplement his speech when words are difficult to understand.

 

Key Word Sign has really helped us to understand Kobe and has increased his confidence in using speech. It has enabled Kobe to express himself, reduce his frustration and comment about what he has done, is doing and is going to do.

 

The use of Key Word Sign is a family and community affair and we have fully embraced it. My daughter Gemma enjoyed teaching her brother. Friends and family wanted to know what Kobe was signing so we in turn taught them signing so they could interact with him. Kobe’s soccer team and swimming instructor learnt Key Word Signing, which further expanded his communication partners. Signing is fun!

 

5C77582D-E918-4BA3-9ADB-1F5DE61549EB

 

Running clears my head, regulates my body, and enables me to gather my thoughts and plan that never ending ’to do’ list. I discovered parkrun during the pandemic when my cousin Peter, a passionate parkrunner, invited me to go along with him. I loved it.

 

IMG_8931

 

The age range and variety of parkrunners was inspiring, but what really stood out to me was the interaction and support between walkers and runners and the volunteer course marshals. The marshals encouraged and guided everyone, and in turn everybody acknowledged and thanked them in their own way – some verbally, some with a simple nod or wave. It just goes to show that there are many different ways that people communicate, and we must value each and every one of them.

 

CleanShot 2022-04-21 at 18.58.58

 

You can download the guide here.

 

Tanya Jarvis

Share this with friends:

steve_connelly_cover

Why the parkrun practice initiative will encourage more GPs to engage in social prescription

Steve Connelly describes it as a feeling of being “completely unplugged”.   In 2018, Steve and his wife Tamarah were playing a pre-dinner game of backgammon in their Mackay apartment.   According to Tamarah, Steve became very quiet, before closing his eyes and making “groaning sounds”.   He lost consciousness for about 10 seconds, before…

Vol_fun_cover

Volunteering is fun!

At parkrun, volunteers are at the very heart of what we do. Our community is global, yet it is so local, with a sense of community being formed in hundreds of different locations around Australia.   Research has shown that volunteering is beneficial to health and well-being, improving a sense of belonging, well-being, and self-worth….