People with various kinds of disabilities communicate with each other, just like regular people.
Even though some of them might not be able to hear, see, or speak to who they are communicating with, they still have many effective ways they communicate with one another.
The use of American Sign Language (ASL) is the most prominent of them all.
If you’ve been wondering how possible it is for a deaf and a blind person to communicate with each other, then you’re in the right place.
In this article, you’ll discover, among other things, how a deaf and a blind person effectively communicate with each other.
Table of Contents
- Things to Consider for Effective Communication
- 4 Ways a Deaf Person and a Blind Person Communicate with Each Other
- Tips on Easy Communication between a Blind Person and a Deaf Person
- How a Blind Person Communicates with a Deaf Person (Video)
Things to Consider for Effective Communication
If the blind person utilizes ASL, they can communicate with a deaf person who understands sign language.
However, this can only be possible if there is light in the room.
A dark place might not enable them to communicate effectively unless they use assistive technology devices.
Both parties need to find a quiet and serene environment to communicate.
Being in a noisy place might break down the communication process, especially if the deaf person suffers from partial hearing or tinnitus.
Nature of disability
The nature of the disability of the blind and deaf person should also be put into consideration.
Is the deaf person hard of hearing, deafblind, or completely deaf? And is the blind person partially or completely blind?
Once they know the nature of each other’s disability, it will enable them to determine the most effective method to use for their communication.
4 Ways a Deaf Person and a Blind Person Communicate with Each Other
1. Direct Communication
This is particularly applicable to a person with partial hearing loss or a deaf person that can lip-read.
The blind person will sit or stand close to the deaf person’s working ear and begin to converse with them. Alternatively, the blind person can talk at a normal pace while the deaf person reads their lips if they’re capable of doing so.
This method enables them to communicate well with each other like any normal hearing and seeing person.
2. Using an interpreter
The use of an interpreter is another easier and faster way for a deaf and blind person to communicate.
An interpreter is a person who is neither deaf nor blind but knows how to use ASL.
In this case, the interpreter will interpret what the deaf person says (if they can speak) to the blind person (if they can hear).
The deaf person can converse by using sign language and the interpreter will relay what the deaf person is saying to the blind person.
In the same vein, the blind person will respond via speech or any other means, and the interpreter will relay the message to the deaf person by making use of sign language.
3. Using tactile/pro-tactile sign language
In the absence of an interpreter, this is another way a deaf and a blind person can communicate with each other.
The tactile or pro-tactile signing is one of the oldest uses of sign language among disabled people. It is a process where a deaf/deafblind and a blind person communicate through touch.
The tactile sign language has continued to evolve over the years to accommodate as many signs as possible.
Some of those signs include fingerspelling, hand-over-hand, and tracking. A lot of disabled people have continued to learn tactile sign language to facilitate quicker and easier communication between the deaf and the blind.
4. Using assistive technology devices
The growth in modern technology has made communication between disabled people better, easier, and more convenient.
It can either be with the use of a smartphone or computer.
Numerous apps have been developed by different professionals to assist deaf and blind people to communicate better. Some of these apps can be downloaded for free and are available for Android and iPhone users.
For instance, apps like Make It Big and Voiceover are some of the apps that are respectively available for Android and iPhone users.
A deaf person can use the Make it Big app to communicate with a blind person by typing what they want to say and playing it to the blind person.
The blind person can equally use the Voiceover app by speaking or dictating into it and the app will automatically convert the speech into a large text for the deaf person to read. The deaf person, in return, will speak into the app and it will read back what the deaf person has said to the blind person.
Generally, any app that has a speech-to-text and text-to-speech feature can also be used for effective communication between a deaf and a blind person.
Tips on Easy Communication between a Blind Person and a Deaf Person
It’s important that both parties show each other empathy during their conversation, especially if one disability is more severe than the other.
They should put themselves in each other’s shoes and try to tolerate any inadequacy that might arise during the conversation.
If the blind person can speak fluently, they should ensure that they talk to the deaf person in a clear and understandable manner if the deaf person is partially deaf and can lip-read.
This is a significant trait that they must both have as they converse.
Just like a normal hearing and seeing person must be patient when communicating with a disabled person, people with disabilities must equally be patient when communicating with each other.
Both parties must not hesitate to repeat themselves if either of them doesn’t decode the message when it was initially said.
Being repetitive will go a long way in making the conversation more enjoyable where both the deaf person and the blind person can understand each other clearly.