Deafblind interpreters

If you need to arrange communication support for someone who is deafblind, you probably want to find out about methods of communication and how to book a registered deafblind interpreter.

Deafblindness is sometimes known as dual sensory impairment, dual sensory loss or multi-sensory impairment. The Department of Health defines people as deafblind “if their combined sight and hearing impairment cause difficulties with communication, access to information and mobility”.

Some people are born deafblind (called congenital) and others become deafblind later in life (acquired).

To book an deafblind interpreter, call us on 0808 808 0123 or submit an initial enquiry form.


Deafblind interpreters


Methods of communication

Depending on their residual sight and hearing, people who are deafblind may use some form of tactile or other communication, including:

  • deafblind manual alphabet also called fingerspelling, this involves spelling out words on someone’s hand in British Sign Language (BSL)
  • block alphabet this is when a hearing person uses the tip of their forefinger to spell out each word in English in block capitals on the receiver’s palm. This method is most often used when communicating with members of the public and others who are unlikely to be familiar with the deafblind manual alphabet.
  • hands-on signing some people who were born deaf and then experience sight loss as an adult continue to use sign language even when they can no longer follow visual signs. They touch the hands of the person who’s signing and follow their movements.
  • visual frame signing when a deafblind person has a limited field of vision, sign language can still be used if the signs are adapted according to their visual needs. In this instance, a BSL sign language interpreter could be booked.
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