Word/Sign Language Communication

What is Word/Sign?

Word/Sign is an adapted form of sign language that provides both an expressive and receptive system for communication, Word/Sign was specifically developed and is copy-righted by AHRC New York City. Word/Sign employs the use of signs and words along with facial expression and body language. Come and learn this comprehensive communication technique that can be used with individuals who have developmental disabilities and are non-verbal or those who have difficulties in spoken receptive and/or expressive language.

How Does Word/Sign Benefit Those with Autism and many other disabilities?

Difficulties with communication are frustrating for many individuals with developmental disabilities. AHRC New York City has personally developed a gesture- and language-based teaching model known as Word Sign. It is a total communications curriculum designed specifically for people with who have trouble communicating. In contrast to American Sign Language, Word/Sign simultaneously presents the communicative gesture with the appropriate verbal label and facial expression with the goal that eventually the student will respond to the verbal cue and develop expressive and receptive language skills.

Why Use Word/Sign with Learners with ASD?


Word/Sign represents an alternative communication strategy for learners with autism and others who have not yet developed language or who possess unreliable, ineffective language. For students to be candidates for Word/Sign, however, they need to possess adequate fine motor skills as well as imitation skills.

Who Is Qualified to Use Word/Sign?

AHRC New York City offers frequent training for staff interested in learning how to use Word/Sign. While instructors who have previous experience with American Sign Language (ASL) would have a better understanding of Word/Sign gestures, we recommend that interested staff attend the agency workshop to ensure that their signing corresponds to the methodology used by the students in our programs.