Living with Deafblindness

Deafblind Communication

We all have a need to interact and communicate with people around us to share knowledge and information; to exchange greetings; to convey our needs; to express how we are feeling or to make choices.

This interaction may be informal or formal and may take place between one individual and another; or there may be a group of people who are communicating with each other.

When we are communicating with other people whether it is in an educational, employment or social situation the interaction connects us to others.

Communication preferences for people who are deafblind may involve the use of a combination of methods that have been adapted depending on:

  • whether the individual is congenitally deafblind or they have acquired dual sensory loss
  • the extent to which the person’s vision and/or hearing is affected
  • acquisition of language

Below are some of the communication methods that may be used with people who are deafblind

  • Speech
  • Lip reading
  • Auslan (Australian Sign Language)
  • Signed English
  • Key Word Sign (formerly known as Makaton)
  • Tactile Signing
  • Tracking
  • Signs used on the body
  • Co-active signing
  • Visual frame signing
  • Deafblind manual alphabet
  • Printing on palm
  • Tadoma
  • Social Haptics
  • Gestures
  • Body language
  • Facial expressions
  • Behaviour/Routines
  • Pictures/photos
  • Object symbols
  • Written (large print writing or typed information)
  • Braille
  • Use of communication devices