Communicating with Deaf people isn’t only about signing. If you can’t sign, it doesn’t mean you can’t communicate.

Here are some basic tips to get you started:

Face the Deaf person and speak clearly at a natural pace
Shout or speak too quickly/slowly or over exaggerate
Use natural gestures such as pointing or drawings
Turn around, move or look away
Make sure your face is in good light
Stand with a window or bright light behind you
Make sure the Deaf person knows what you are talking about (the topic)
Change the topic without telling the Deaf person
Repeat and rephrase
Shout or cover your mouth
Use pen and paper if you get stuck
Give up or feel embarrassed


Deafblind people communicate in different ways.  Some Deafblind people have a narrow field of vision such as no peripheral vision, some are only able to see one or two metres whereas others have blurred or no vision at all. Ask the Deafblind person what is the best way to communicate with them such as  sitting closer or using signs in a smaller signing space (within the frame of your body) or using tactile signs or spelling out words on their hand.