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Living with Deafblindness

Deafblind Communication

Deafblind communication methods and strategies

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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;  feelings and preferences.

Interactions may be informal or formal and may be between one person and another; or there may be a group of people 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 person is congenitally deafblind or acquired deafblindness
  • the extent to which the person’s vision and/or hearing is affected
  • how much language they know
  • if they have literacy skills

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

  • 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
  • Print on palm
  • 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