Paget Gorman Signed Speech and PLD

At the Glenleighden School we use Paget Gorman Signed Speech throughout our day. The first question we are asked is ‘What is Paget Gorman Signed Speech?’ quickly followed by ‘But can’t we just keep using Makaton (Key Word Sign)?’.  Some info that may answer those questions:

From the Paget Gorman Signed Speech Website


What is Paget Gorman Signed Speech?

Paget Gorman Signed Speech (PGSS) aims to provide an accurate representation of the English language. Signs are always accompanied by speech, using normal patterns of English and children are encouraged to speak as they sign. The system is an important educational tool; it is not necessarily intended to be used as a means of communication throughout life.

PGSS was devised by Sir Richard Paget whose studies were largely concerned with the origin and development of human speech and communication. It was revised and modified by the late Lady Paget and Dr Pierre Gorman who standardised the signs. In its current version it incorporates many features suggested and requested by teachers, speech therapists and others who are in daily contact with speech and language impaired children. It is printed in full in a manual, CD rom and Internet. There are instructions for making over 4,000 signs.

Language impaired children

There is very much more to the system than vocabulary. It includes all the grammatical features of English too.

PGSS is particularly suitable for language impaired children because it includes all of the grammatical features of English.

PGSS is flexible enough to be adapted to all levels of language ability. The teacher/therapist is able to select the appropriate features of the system according to the individual child’s needs.

The widest use of PGSS is in schools and units for the language disordered. Depending on the policy of the school, the system is generally used in conjunction with a structured approach to language teaching for these children, but such an approach is not in any way determined by the system.

PGSS can be used with any method of teaching language, from the wholly informal use by the parents in the home, to the structured methods carefully devised by highly skilled and qualified teachers and therapists. The idea of grouping words around thirty seven Basic Signs (e.g. time, food, position, etc.), enables related meaning to be linked thus aiding conceptual learning, while the written instructions mean that adults can use previously unknown signs with comparative ease. Children normally learn the system through natural use.

Although mainly used with speech and language impaired children, PGSS has been found useful in other areas of communication disability.

The hand movements required by signing seem to be of value in learning language, and also reading, since the message is reaching the brain through yet another sense. The appropriate sequence of word order is further reinforced.

Development of language

In the early stages of using PGSS the main concern is the development of language and as a means of communication. Practice and research has consistently found that communication improves.

PGSS is an aid to language development and is used by a child until normal communication develops. By helping teachers and therapists to be more critically aware of the language they are using with children, as well as by presenting clear patterns of English, Paget Gorman Signed Speech plays a vital part in language development. It has been of very great benefit to many children throughout the country.

A number of schools and centres abroad are also using PGSS, notably in Australia, and enquiries have been received from non English speaking countries.


If you want more information please visit the Paget Gorman or The Glenleighden School website (

Share the knowledge...Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInGoogle+Pin on Pinterestshare on TumblrEmail to someoneShare on RedditDigg this