Visual frame signing

This page describes what visual frame signing is, who uses it and how to use it in the most effective way.

What is visual frame signing?

With visual frame signing, the person communicating with you uses sign language, making the signs in a smaller area that stays in your smaller field of vision.

Who uses visual frame signing?

If you have a loss of vision as well as hearing loss, people can communicate with you using visual frame signing.

For example, if you get tunnel vision, the area you can see gets smaller. It’s as if you’re looking through a tunnel and can only see things in a small circle directly in front of you. So someone will sign only in the small circle.

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.

Top tips for visual frame signing

If you have hearing loss and reduced vision:

  • Find somewhere away from too much background noise and with good lighting – not too dim and not too glaring.
  • If you lipread, ask the person communicating with you to sign a little below their face, so you can still see their mouth.
  • If you don’t lipread, ask the person to sign in front of their face.
  • It’s OK to ask the person signing to change how they sign to what works best for you – for example, do you need them to stand closer or further away?
  • Let the person know if you need to touch their hands so that you can keep their movements where you can see them.

If you’re using visual frame signing with someone with hearing loss and reduced vision:

  • Find somewhere away from too much background noise and with good lighting – not too dim and not too glaring.
  • If the person lipreads, sign a little below your face, so they can still see their mouth.
  • If they don’t lipread, you can sign in front of your face.
  • It’s OK to ask the person what works best for them, so you can change how you sign – for example, do they need you to stand closer or further away?
  • Ask the person if they need to touch your hands so that they can keep your movements where they can see them.

See also

  • Sign language is a way of communicating using hand gestures and movements, body language and facial expressions, instead of spoken words.
  • Makaton uses signs and symbols, in spoken word order, along with speech, to develop communication, language and literacy skills
  • Deafblind Manual is a way to communicate using touch only, not sight or speech

Other ways of communicating

Using speech

Using touch

Using signs

Also

More information