General top five tips on how to communicate with a Deafblind individual
1. Gently touch their hand and place your hand underneath theirs so as not to startle them. Touching the hand is less startling than a touch on the back or arm. Do not “hit and run.” Not all Deafblind people communicate the same way, ask the individual for the best way to communicate according to their specific needs. For emergency personal, please show them your identification. (badges, instruments, etc) Touching is important for Deafblind to recognize texture and shapes.
2. Identify yourself every time you meet. Do not play the “who am I” game. Perhaps you can work out s simple but special signal that would help the Deafblind identify who you are such as name signs, types of touches, cologne/perfumes, etc. Never ignore the Deafblind during conversations because it’s considered rude.
3. Its important to let Deafblind know when they are alone, when you leave and come back into the room and explain the environment surroundings. Explaining the surroundings will aid in the Deafblind individual get a picture of what things look like such as number of people, adults, children, behaviors of people, what color the walls are, etc. It helps the Deafblind individuals feel more included within the environment.
4. When encountering a Deafblind individual, you would feel inclined to help them immediately. You can offer to help them only when it is appropriate and try not to be unobtrusive. Deafblind individuals are independent so please do not treat them as if they are fragile unless it is an immediate situation. Never physically push a Deafblind, but let them take your arm and guide them to where they need to go.
5. Personal items such as wallets, purses, keys, dinner plates or glasses should not be touched unless you are asked. Also get their permission before moving something of theirs and tell them where you put it so that they know where it is. Be sure to leave things as they are in their residences.
The list above is the top five common communication tips for the Deafblind. If you are interested or want to find out more, please feel free to search on your own.
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