Tips to help us to know how to act with a Deafblind person
Most common is that the first time we meet a Deafblind person we’re a little confused about how to act, we will not know how to start the communication with her/him or what guidelines be followed to establish a contact and a satisfactory communication. The following tips can help to make us feel more secure, establish that contact, and thus facilitate communication:
- When we meet a Deafblind person we know, we say hello directly, although he/she is accompanied. This will make him/her notice our presence and will be happy to say hello back to us.
- We chose the most appropriate system. Our partner will indicate us which is the one preferred. In the interaction with the him/her we will see what is the preferred communication system. Learn the hand-sign alphabet, which is the most known by Deafblind people.
- The first thing we have to do is always let know about our presence by tapping gently on the shoulder or arm. When you can’t hear nor see anything, this first contact is essential. Although the Deafblind person has sight or hearing remains, it is possible that, due to the characteristics of these, is not be aware of our presence nor our intention to communicate with her/him and to not have been perceived our presence visual or aurally, needing also the touch contact. It is possible that if we place ourselves within the visual field, or talk and he/she can hear, touching won’t be necessary, but in any case it is a more secure gesture and the contact is established in a more practical manner, because the other cases we will always doubt if we’ll be seeing or we would have heard.
- The next step will be identify ourselves. Say who we are, by spelling our name or doing the sign that represents us, getting their hands to do this if we are confident that he/she can’t see us. Making us understand if he/she can listen (try to talk at not noisy places) or facilitating sight if he/she can see us (not overspend vision field and good lighting to facilitate that he/she sees at the same time we do our sign). Although he/she knows us, we must communicate who we are to avoid confusion.
- At first we find ourselves with certain difficulties in the development of the communicative process. It is necessary that both have patience. The effectiveness in communication will increase with practice, as we become familiar with the system chosen.
- We can be helpful acting as interpreters in front of other people. What will be the most difficult for him/her in these occasions, will be to know when is the right time to talk. We’ll help him/her to do so.
- We must never forget to say goodbye. If we have to go for a moment, we will tell and leave him/her in the meantime in a comfortable and safe place. It is not advisable leaving him/her alone in an unknown place and, in any case, always providing tactile references that have the place where this, outpace the hand to it.
- As you walk with him/her, the correct way is to let take our arm; in general, it will be above the elbow. So will feel our movement better. We should never try to walk behind, the Deafblind person goes always one step behind us. We will always notify to go up or down stairs, crossing a door or a street, etc.
- While we walk, it is desirable to explain where we are, and what is going on around us. If we see something that seems interesting to us, we must not doubt explaining.
- Finally, lets always remember that to communicate with Deafblind person the only thing we are doing is talking to her/him. Forget about prejudices and others looking at us and lets just communicate.