This page explains what Deafblind Manual is, who uses it and how to learn it.
What is 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.
People who are deafblind can experience more barriers accessing information, communicating with people and getting about each day. Deafblind Manual can help to break down some of these barriers.
“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.
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 Sense can help
We offer free and impartial information about living with complex disabilities, including deafblindness.
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 ten minutes and you’ll pick it up in no time.
Watch how to use the Deafblind Manual alphabet
Complete Deafblind Manual
Other ways of communicating
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Find out more about communication methods and read inspiring stories about the people that use them.
- Braille uses raised dots to touch.
- Block alphabet spells letters on to your hand.
- Moon uses raised lines, curves and dots to touch.
- Tadoma uses lipreading by touch.
- Hand-under-hand signing using touch.
- Sign language.
- Makaton, a simpler version of sign language.
- Visual frame signing for people with reduced vision.
- Objects of reference.
- Non-formal communication without speaking, writing or signing.
- Intensive interaction treating everything as communication.
This content was last reviewed in April 2022. We’ll review it again next year.