Ways of communicating

Sign language is one of many ways people can communicate

There are thousands of ways to communicate and connect – be it through speech, sign language, touch, movement, gesture, sound, pictures, objects or electronic aids.

At Sense, we use whatever mix works best to help people who have complex disabilities, or are deafblind, to communicate and experience the world.

We’ll use whatever works. We call this our ‘total communication’ approach.

Common ways of communicating include:

How Sense can help

We offer free and impartial information about living with complex disabilities, including deafblindness.

Get in touch by phone, email, post or through a BSL interpreter.

Different ways of communicating

Whatever mix of methods you use, a total communication approach will make it easier and more enjoyable to connect meaningfully with someone who communicates differently from you.

Remember, it’s never too late to start learning a new way of communicating. Have a go and don’t worry about getting it wrong.

Total communication is also about creating a positive environment that will help you communicate and interact.

For example, this may mean:

  • Changing the lighting in the room.
  • Reducing the amount of background noise.
  • Moving position so that you can see or hear better.
  • Reducing clutter or removing things that are distracting.

Types of communication

These are the main ways of communicating that we use:

Using speech

Using touch

Using signs


This content was last reviewed in April 2022. We’ll review it again next year.