Deaf Blind: How To Communicate
October 11, 2019
(♪♪♪) Hi everybody, so a while back I had gotten a request to get some information on how you communicate with Deaf Blind people. So I just want to warn you, I’m not an expert on this but I’m just gonna kind of explain some of the expereienes I’ve had. Also I went online and you know did some research the Deaf Blind Association, their website and things like that. So that was what I didn’t know. Also I will include links below for you guys if you are interested in more information. So let’s get started! Ok first I want to emphasize when I say Deaf Blind that does not mean necessarily a person is fully deaf and fully blind. It varies just like people who are only deaf, you know their hearing loss varies. Some people are Hard of Hearing, they can hear quite a bit. Some people are fully deaf and they can’t hear anything, and the same goes with Deaf Blind. Some people may be more deaf and less blind. Some of them might be fully blind and can hear a little bit more. So, again it just kind of varies. That’s why there’s so many different methods that you can use. So now I’m going to explain some of the things that you can do when you’re trying to communicate with Deaf Blind people. First I’m just going to give you some tips on communication. So the first tip is to remember some people kinda like you, your eyes, throughout the day your eyesight gets a little bit worse. You know it’s not as good at the end of the day as when you started. So just kind of warn you, at the beginning of the day somebody who is Deaf Blind they might be able to see pretty well. They might just need you to sign a little bit closer and that’s it. Then throughout the day, their vision might down a bit and they might end up at the end of the day needing tactile signing. So you don’t know. Just make sure you ask the person what they need. So the first thing that’s possible is the person might be able to see reasonably well. So they might just need you to sign at a closer distance. So that’s usually when someone’s called low vision. So for example you know maybe someone signs… usually you are at about this much distance. You might just bring it a little bit closer, maybe here, or maybe there. So again, just ask the person “do you need me closer, farther…” whatever their preference is. Ok another possibility is instaed of having a larger signing space, you might need to make it a much smaller signing space. So just a small box here on your chest. Sign about right here. So don’t use too large of a signing space. Another thing that’s very important and most likely with all or most Deaf Blind people is you need contrasting colors. Like this is an example. You can see my hand and this vest are a very similar color. So that wouldn’t work very well. So what I would need to do, or you would need to do, is see here have this color, this black. That is contrasting agaisnt my skin tone. So since I’m lighter skin, that means I need a darker color. It doesn’t have to be black, but that usually works best. If you have a darker skin then you woudl need to wear a lighter color, more like this vest color. So, darker skin, lighter and that’s contrasting and that will help you see better. Another possibility is you might need to sign slower. So sometimes it’s already a little bit blurry so if you’re signing really quickly then it’s really tough to see. So just take your signs a little slower. You don’t have to go super super slow, but just a little bit more of a relaxed pace. Ok another possibility is if someon has less vision, they might use what’s called tracking. So, I’ve noticed that’s not used as much but this what it is. So that’s tracking. So that means that the Deaf Blind person is holding your wrists. So it’s kind of giving them a little bit… a little bit more control. Meaning if they need to they can kind of make your signing space a little bit smaller. Also it just helps them to be able to track, like it says, where the signs are at. So they can kind of follow with their eyes a little bit easier because they have their hands to help out. The next method that you can use is called tactile. So that’s typcially used if somebody is fully blind or sometimes if they are very strong, like have a strong Deaf family they might use something like tactile which is this. So that’s what is called tactile. So meaning one person is signing, and the other person, the Deaf Blind person, will have their hands over the signers hands. Like so, and like you saw in the video. So that’s what called tactile. It doesn’t matter if you’re signing, if you’re fingerspelling. They have their hands over your hands and that’s called tactile. Another method which I’ve barely ever seen, but it’s mainly used like if maybe you don’t know any sign language at all or maybe you don’t know much sign language and you meet a Deaf Blind person. You can do what’s called Print On Palm. That’s this. So that method like I said is more for people who don’t know sign language. You are literally drawing the letters of the alphabet, A, B, C, onto a person’s palm. So they’ll be able to you like fingerspelling but without signing. Like get the letters on the palms so to speak. Ok one last thing I wanted to include and kind of emphasize is when you’re communicating with a Deaf Blind person, make sure you’re including more visual information. For example when you are watching somebody using sign language, you are watching their hands, the actual sign. But you are also watching their face, their facial expressions. So, if the person can’t see well or they can’t see at all. Maybe they are fully blind, they can’t see those facial expressions. Meaning you need to include them in your sign language. Also, just visual clues. So if a person is really mad. You know someone could be irritataed, or furious. So you need to include that in your sign language. You would say that person is very mad, or that person is really sad, or if a person is crying for example. The Deaf Blind might not see that or hear that, so you need to include like “the person is crying now”, umm “the person is flipping out”. Whatever that is, make sure you’re including the visual information. Maybe things about the room, like ok there are a few windows in the room. There are a lot of people in the audience, or how the tables are set up. They are set up this way, with a bunch of people sitting in circles around the tables. Things like that, include those and that will help a lot. So if you’re interested in more Deaf Blind communication tips or you’re interested maybe interpreting for Deaf Blind, go ahead and click on the links below for the Deaf Blind Association, and the other ones that I have. You can always go ahead and ask me questions. I will answer them if I can. Hopefully you guys, this has helped you a little bit with Deaf Blind communication. Again if you have any questions, leave them as comments below and I’ll do my best to answer those if I can. If I don’t know, I will try and send you to somebody who does for that information! As always I’ll have my videos down here so please go ahead and check those out and let me know what you thing. Yeah I enjoy you guys here as always and I’ll see you in the next video. Bye guys!