Deafblind Manual

This page explains what the Deafblind Manual is, who uses it and how to learn it. 

What is the Deafblind Manual?

Deafblind Manual is a way to communicate using touch only, not sight or speech. 

Words and sentences are spelt onto your hand using individual letter signs. 

These are based on the British Sign Language (BSL) fingerspelling alphabet. Some of the BSL signs have been changed to make them work better with touch only. 


Who uses Deafblind Manual?

Deafblind Manual is used by people who have little or no sight and hearing. 

“Don't worry about taking breaks between words or pausing at the end of sentences. Let each word roll into the next one, just like you do when you're talking.”

Jo Stokes, Quality and Practice Manager, Sense

Say hello to Dan

Watch Dan communicating with Deafblind Manual and sharing his love of travelling.

Read the audio description of this video

Before you read on…

  • You can communicate using a mix of different ways. (We all do!)
  • At Sense, we use whatever combination of speech, touch, sign or visual language works best.
  • It’s never too late to start.
  • Have a go and don’t worry about getting it wrong.

How can I start to learn Deafblind Manual? 

Below are pictures of some of the Deafblind Manual alphabet signs, with simple instructions. Practise these and the other signs every day for 10 minutes and you’ll pick it up in no time.

A – touch the end of the person’s thumb with your right forefinger

B – all finger tips of your right hand in the middle of the person’s left palm

C – draw your right forefinger down the thumb and along the top of the outstretched forefinger

Watch how to use the Deafblind Manual alphabet

Other ways of communicating

Using speech

Using touch

Using signs


More information