Communication Resources

This topic collects information on the development of language and communication skills in those who are blind or visually impaired. Most links here focus on younger children. Parents can explore strategies for establishing communication, fostering the use of language, and the use of tactile and object cues in helping the child to understand their environment.

This webpage offers NCDB products, links to articles and other publications, and Internet resources.

Source: National Consortium on Deaf-Blindness (NCDB)

The purpose of ICEB is "to coordinate and improve standards for braille usage for all English-speaking users of braille." One of their key initiatives is Unified English Braille.

Find out about some common concerns in the language development of young children with visual impairments and learn what you can do to help.

Source: FamilyConnect for Parents of Children with Visual Impairments

In this 6-page article, Deborah Chen outlines specific strategies for developing communication: observation, engaging the child's available senses, cues, key word signs, interrupted routine strategy, and selecting the child's first signs. (requires Adobe Acrobat Reader)

Source: California Deaf-Blind Services

This Zimbabwean handbook discusses communication, assessment, and goal planning for children with disabilities. Includes information on play, communicating in everyday situations, and working in groups. The complete booklet is available in separate PDF downloads per chapter.  From this link, scroll down to the title for this publication and download PDFs for the Introduction and 12 Sections.

Source: World Health Organization (WHO)

New Visions offers information to professionals and parents working with infants and children with feeding, swallowing, oral-motor, and pre-speech problems.

Source: New Visions

This site is a resource for parents, featuring a range of articles and links on communication, socialization, orientation and mobility, and transition, and more. Also in Spanish.

Source: Family Connect

This section of the Family Connect site is a gold mine for parents and other family members who are looking for information and resources on children who have additional disabilities.

Source: FamilyConnect

NCDB is a national technical assistance and dissemination center for information about deafblindness. While most resources focus on the needs of children and youth, there is wealth of information here in the Adult Services section.

Dedicated to enhancing educational services provided to students under 21 with vision and hearing impairments, this organization provides on-site assistance, support resources to parents and educators. Also in Spanish.

Project SALUTE explains object cues, a "concrete means of supporting conversational interactions and language development." Included are examples, advantages, disadvantages, and specific strategies; available in English and Spanish.

Source: Project SALUTE

In her dissertation for the University of Stuttgart, Christine Lauenstein examines whether braille's structural elements "inhibit writing performance because they interfere with language processes" and result in poor spelling skills.

Source: University of Stuttgart

The importance of communication and play in the education of children with deafblindness. English title: "Deaf-Blindness: A Possible Educational Approach ‘Giving Priority to Childhood’”; in Spanish.

Source: International Council for the Education of People with Visual Impairment (ICEVI)

Project SALUTE describes the hierarchy of communication symbols, from most abstract to most concrete. Color photographs of each of the eleven symbols are included; available in English and Spanish. 

Reading and writing with low vision optical and non-optical devices, braille, large print, listening, and handwriting.

Source: VisionAware

Perkins author/education Barbara Miles speaks on the important role that hands and the sense of touch play in communication with children who are deafblind.

Source: Perkins eLearning Webcasts

A recording of Faye Gonzalez's 2014 presentation on integrating sensory and literacy activities to improve communication skills. Continuing Education credits may be purchased, but the content is freely available.

Source: Perkins eLearning Webinar

Handwriting tips, techniques, and adaptations, as well as information about helpful products.

Source: VisionAware

This information sheet provides a thorough introduction to tactile communication strategies, including general interaction tips, suggestions for encouraging communication, and requirements for a communication system; in English and Spanish.

Source: Project SALUTE

This site offers a wealth of practical information about communicating with individuals who don't use abstract symbols or a formal language system. Topics include setting up a system, constructing tangible symbols, and tips from the field.

Source: Design to Learn