Radio Inspire

How To Learn Sign Language

Communication Tips

Communication Tips Many people who are deaf, deafblind, late-deafened
or hard of hearing have some remaining hearing or vision that they can use to gather information and
communicate with other people. Here are some things that you can do to communicate more effectively with someone who is deaf,
deafblind or hard of hearing. Making the most of remaining hearing Don’t assume that the person can hear and
understand you just because he or she is wearing a hearing aid. Ask the person what you can do to make communications easier. Remember, he or she is the expert! Eliminate background noise as much as possible.
Close the door. Turn off the television. Ask for a table in a less crowded area of
a restaurant, workplace or social gathering. Ask the person where he or she would like
to sit. This allows them to control their environment
as much as possible. Look directly at the person. Maintain eye contact and don’t cover your
mouth, eat or chew gum while you are talking. Speak clearly, slowly, and loudly but don’t
shout. If the person doesn’t understand you, rephrase
your message. Stick to one idea at a time. Try to keep your sentences short and to the point. Use gestures, facial expressions and other
kinds of nonverbal communication to help get your message across. Get the person’s attention before you start
talking. If the person has some residual hearing, you can say the person’s name. Otherwise, tap the person on the shoulder
or knock on the table. Wait until the person acknowledges you or
makes eye contact before you begin. Check in with the person to be sure that he
or she understands what is being discussed. Allow time for the person to respond. Don’t
rush to fill the silence! Making the most of remaining vision Many people who are deafblind have some residual
vision. You may find these strategies helpful: Choose a well-lit space. Ask the person if the lighting is acceptable
or should be adjusted. Make sure the light is shining on you, not
in the person’s eyes. Sit close enough for the person to see your face. Don’t stand or sit in front of a bright window
or light. This may make it difficult for a person with
limited vision to see your hands, lips or facial expression. Wear solid-colored clothing that contrasts
with your skin tone. If you have lighter skin, wear dark clothing; if you have darker skin, wear lighter clothing. This will make it easier for a person with
limited vision to follow ASL signs, gestures, and also focus on
your face. Identify yourself. Say the person’s name when speaking to that
person in a group situation. Communicating in writing Communicating in writing is often a good option. When possible, use a computer, cell phone
or mobile device so you can adjust the brightness, type font, and increase the font size. Use the notes feature or an app on a cell
phone or mobile device to communicate in writing. Use a dark, broad-tipped marker and white
or yellow paper. Always print your message. Block letters work best. Get to the point. Use diagrams and simple
words and phrases. Remember A S L is the native language of many
people who are deaf or deafblind. They may not be proficient communicating in
other languages. You will find more communication tips and
strategies on the website.

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