Non-alphabetic communication systems

Non-alphabetic communication systems are based on the transmission of the message, concept, or idea through a sign or a word. It can be a more or less formal structure, from natural gestures language to Spanish Sign Language or oral language. And, in all them, necessary adaptations are carried out in order to get the Deafblind people can properly receive the message, either by sight, hearing or touching.



This is the first way to start communication with Deafblind children. Combine gestures that are related to the functionality of the object, Body movements that describe the desired action, the imitation of gestures of the child whose intentionality has been tested and conventional signs of easy understanding supported by the context in which they occur. It is not therefore a formal language and is usually very sensitive and personalized to the signs and concepts that the child or user known and used.


The Sign Language used by deaf people.

According to the “Law 27/2007, October 23, by which Spanish Sign Languages are recognized and governing the means of support to the oral communication of the deaf, hard-hearing and Deafblind, defines Sign Language such as “are the languages or linguistic systems of visual character, space, gestural and manual in whose shaping factors historical, cultural, linguistic and social, traditionally used as languages by some people who are deaf, hard-hearing and Deafblind in Spain”.

Deaf blind people will need to receive the signed message by adjusting to certain aspects that will be taken into account for a satisfactory understanding: realization of the signs at a greater distance (for these are within the visual field), slower, and in appropriate lighting conditions that favor the understanding (as opposed to the light or very little light, etc), contrast between hands and clothing of the signing person, etc. All these adaptations in order to receive the message properly, are known as SIGN LANGUAGE IN VISUAL FIELD.

If the visual difficulties of the Deafblind person are greater, may require supporting one hand on the wrist of his/her interlocutor to support tactilely the receipt of the signed message.

Lengua de signosWhen total/complete Deafblind people, or the sight remain is minimum, they need to put their hands on the interlocutor ones, in order to receive the message, then we speak about TACTILE SIGN LANGUAGE. In this case, Deafblind person hands are placed hanging (like a hanger) in the angle formed between the thumb and the index of their partner to follow the message.

It is essential to consider that we are talking about a language which transmission channel is very different than what hearing people we are used to.

It is structured different from the oral communication, considering a particular space, some specific movements, accompanied by facial expressions and body varied, which in addition in the case of the Deafblind people must be captured through touch.


lengua oralFor many Deafblind people oral language is the usual communication system. It will be the expressive communication system, even being Deafblind persons, but to receive the messages they will need to use some alphabetical communication system. If this is not the case, because hearing remains are functional enough to allow the auditory reception, it is possible to continue using the oral language to receive messages, but needing some adaptations. These are the relevant technical hearing aids, cochlear implants, etc. up to those related to the characteristics of the message and the conditions under which received it: the tone of the speaker, volume, ambient noise, position of the speaker, at the same distance, reception by the better ear, etc. it is also possible that Deafblind people communicate orally have visual remains functional enough to allow rely on lip-reading to receive the message.


What we call “dual-mode” refers to the fact that the message is expressed in two ways at the same time; but the base language, which marks the order of the sentence and determines the syntax of the productions is the oral language. In Deafblind people’s case is combined with those signs taken from the Spanish Sign Language tactile adapted in its realization in the palm of the hand. It is possible to include here the system “DACTYLS” developed by Daniel Alvarez from his experience as a Deafblind person, which combines on the hand the signs taken from the Spanish Sign Language, adapted in its realization to space perceptible by the hand and offers a speed transmission of the message (from a well trained speaker) almost similar to the oral language. Can be used pedagogically as a system to introduce oral language structures and is suitable as a communication system for people with Deafblindness acquired after the development of the language or for blind people who lose their hearing.

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