A guide to respectful communication

When communicating with a person who is Deafblind, the most important thing you should remember is to ask first. The person may appreciate assistance, but may also not need any support whatsoever. Asking the person to describe their vision and hearing, what their needs are, and what their preferred communication method is are great first steps to positive and respectful interactions.

Here are some tips you may want to consider when you communicate with a person who is Deafblind:

A DBCS staff member has a conversation with a client. An intervenor stands between them, facilitating communication.
  • Ask first. Ask the person what adaptations they require for communication. In some situations, you may also ask the individual if they would like a sighted guide. 
  • Avoid assumptions. Try not to make assumptions about what someone can or can’t do.
  • Be aware. Be aware that the person may need you to stand back a certain distance to see you.
  • Be mindful of your pace. The person may need you to speak at a slower pace to follow the conversation.
  • Ask clarifying questions. Ask questions to clarify information and ask for feedback to create a more successful and respectful experience for both parties.


Hosting a webinar or virtual meeting? 

Check out our tips for delivering successful, accessible and functional webinars for the Deafblind community using Zoom.