Guidelines for Interacting with people who are Deaf-Blind

Guidelines for Interacting with people who are Deaf-Blind

“We are never happy until we try to brighten the lives of others,” Helen Keller.

Helen Keller National Center

141 Middle Neck Road

Sands Point, NY  11050

Phone: (516) 944-8900

TTY: (516) 944-8637

Fax: (516) 944-7302



Helen Keller National Center for Deaf-Blind Youths and Adults

Guidelines for Interacting with People who are Deaf-Blind:

*When you approach a person who is deaf-blind, let them know-by a simple touch on the shoulder or arm-that you are there. Reassure them of your continued presence in the same manner.

*Immediately identify yourself by name or a sign name.

*Communicate directly with the person who is deaf-blind, even when using an interpreter.

*Make every effort to learn and use what-ever method of communication the individual prefers, such as print-on-palm, finger-spelling, American Sign Language or writing with a bold, black pen, to name a few. Some individuals may have enough hearing to carry on conversations in quiet surroundings.

*Use the words “see”, “hear”, “deaf” and ” blind” naturally without hesitation, if your conversation calls for them.

*Inform the person who is deaf-blind of their surroundings, including people and activities in the area.

*When involved in group discussions, let the person who is deaf-blind know when it is his or her turn to speak.

*Always tell the person when you are leaving, even if it is only for a brief period. See that he is comfortably and safely situated. If standing, make sure he has something to place his hand on life a wall, a chair or a table.

*When guiding a person who is dead-blind, never place him ahead of you. Instead, let him hold your arm above the elbow. In this manner, the person can usually sense any change in pace or direction. When ascending or descending stairs, pause and then continue on. When walking through a doorway, let the person who is deaf-blind follow directly behind you.

*Treat a person who is deaf-blind as you treat anyone else. Be courteous, considerate and use common sense.

Print-on-Palm (POP) is a simple method of communicating with a person who is deaf-blind and familiar with printed English.

To use POP: with your index finger, “print” your message in the palm of the hand of the person who is deaf-blind. To make each letter, follow the diagram, which indicates the recommended direction, sequence and number of strokes for each letter. Use capital letters only, except for the letter “i” which is lower case. Print only in the palm area. Do not connect letters. Pause after each word. If you make a mistake, “wipe” the palm, then print the correct letter. If the person has speech, he or she may say each letter and word aloud as you spell it. This is good way to know that your message is being understood.

One Hand Manual Alphabet:

The one-hand manual alphabet, also known as fingerspelling, is a visual code for the English alphabet. It can be used to spell words to a person who is deaf-blind. If the person is totally deaf-blind, you will need to fingerspell the words into the palm the words into the palm of the person’s hand. This is called “tactual fingerspelling”. You may recognize this as the method of communication used by Annie Sullivan with her famous student, Helen Keller.

Disclaimer: this information was taken directly from a handout from the Helen Keller National Center. For information on the Center, please call or email the above numbers.


About jwatrel

I am a free-lance writer and Blogger. I am the author of the book "Firehouse 101" ( 2005) part of trilogy of books centered in New York City. My next book "Love Triangles" is finished being edited and should be ready for release in the Fall. My latest book, "Dinner at Midnight", a thriller is on its last chapter. My long awaited book explains the loss of the 2004 Yankee game to Boston. I work as a Consultant, Adjunct College Professor, Volunteer Fireman and Ambulance member and Blogger. I have a blog site for caregivers called 'bergencountycaregiver', a step by step survival guide to all you wonderful folks taking care of your loved ones, a walking project to walk every block, both sides, of the island of Manhattan "MywalkinManhattan" and discuss what I see and find on the streets of New York and three sites to accompany it. One is an arts site called "Visiting a Museum", where I showcase small museums, historical sites and parks that are off the beaten track both in Manhattan and outside the city to cross reference with "MywalkinManhattan" blog site. Another is "DiningonaShoeStringNYC", featuring small restaurants I have found on my travels in this project, that offer wonderful meals for $10.00 and under. So be on the lookout for updates on all three sites and enjoy 'MywalkinManhattan'. The third is my latest site, "LittleShoponMainStreet", which showcases all the unique and independent shops that I have found on my travels throughout and around Manhattan. I have started two new blog sites for the fire department, one "EngineOneHasbrouck HeightsFireDepartmentnj" for the Hasbrouck Heights Fire Department to discuss what our Engine Company is doing and the other is "BergenCountyFireman'sHomeAssociation" for the Bergen County Fireman's Association, which fire fighters from Bergen County, NJ, go to the Fireman's Home in Boonton, NJ to bring entertainment and cheer to our fellow brother fire fighters quarterly.
This entry was posted in Bergen County NJ Programs, Disability Programming, Federal Caregiver programs, Health and Life Support Services, Medicare/Medicaid Programming, Men's Programming, New Jersey Senior Programming, Senior Caregiver Programs, Senior Disability Programming, Senior Rehabilitation Programming, Senior Services, Uncategorized, Woman's Programming and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Guidelines for Interacting with people who are Deaf-Blind

  1. jwatrel says:

    Please call the Helen Keller National Center for more information.

    Liked by 1 person

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