Communicating with a deaf person isn’t all that different than communicating with a hearing person. When communicating with both deaf and hearing people, many of the same nonverbal cues are used. This type of nonverbal language just requires more focus and attention when communicating with deaf people. Here are some useful tips that will help you through easy and effective communication.
Here are some useful tips that will help you through easy and effective communication.
Maintain Eye Contact
Eye contact is important when communicating with both hearing and deaf people. Just as you do when speaking with a hearing person, you want to be looking directly at the deaf person with which you are communicating. Eye contact allows you communicate that you are actively a part of the conversation and lets the deaf person read your gestures.
Don’t Be Afraid to Use Sign Language
Most hearing people know at least a few words or letters in sign language. Don’t be afraid to use whatever signing you know when communicating with a deaf person. Deaf people will not laugh at you or judge you for trying your best to effectively communicate with them. Doing some quick research into sign language will help you feel more confident in your signing.
Touching is Normal
Don’t be afraid if a deaf person touches you while conversing. It is one nonverbal way they are able to communicate that they are engaged in the conversation. Some hearing people may not be used to the intimacy of some nonverbal language, but it is imperative that you understand it is simply another form of communication.
How to Use an Interpreter
When an interpreter is present during a conversation, be sure to maintain eye contact with the deaf individual rather than the interpreter. This can easily become a confusing situation when communicating with two people at once, but remember that it is the deaf person with which you are ultimately conversing. Maintaining eye contact and staying within their visual range is your goal, even with an interpreter there to help you.
The most important tip is to be understanding. Although they communicate differently, deaf people are simply that: people. If you find yourself getting frustrated with a deaf person, consider how difficult it is for them as well. They want to communicate with you equally as much as you want to communicate with them, so it is important that you are patient and understanding at all times.
Family Service Foundation, Inc.
Family Service Foundation, Inc. has been serving the greater Maryland area since 1936. This nonprofit organization helps Maryland residents across a span of different areas such as mental health, developmental disabilities, and substance abuse, and provides interpretation for deaf and deaf-blind individuals. To learn more about cerebral palsy or other developmental disabilities, visit here.
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