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Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired
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Etiquette for Interacting With a Person Who is Deaf-Blind: 

Treat a person who is deaf-blind as you would treat anyone else. Always be natural – never patronizing in your words and your actions.

Address a person who is deaf-blind directly, not through someone else. Speak by forming the letters of the manual alphabet distinctly while he or she holds one hand lightly over yours to feel the position of your fingers. Be careful to move the fingers directly from the position of one letter to the next and pause slightly between words. If you or the person who is deaf-blind are unfamiliar with the manual alphabet, you can print capital letters in their palm. Be sure to pause between words.

Use the words “see” and “hear” or “blind” naturally, without hesitation if your conversation calls for them.

Let the person who is deaf-blind know when you enter or leave the room. Always say who you are.

Offer your arm when walking with a person who is deaf-blind. Do not push him or her ahead of you; let them hold your arm, just below the elbow.

You do not have to physically support a deaf-blind person who is entering a car or train or going upstairs. Just place their hand on the door-knob or stair rail for guidance. A person who is deaf-blind does not need you to help them sit down; just guide one of their hands to the back of the chair so they can judge the position.

Describe things that are happening – or are about to happen – around you when you are with a person who is deaf-blind.

Show a person who is deaf-blind that you are confident in their ability to do things independently. This is a form of sensitivity and awareness that is extremely important.

Remember that your behavior toward a person who is deaf-blind will not only affect their feeling of well-being, but may be important in educating and sensitizing their family, friends or anyone else you encounter when in their company.


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