Communication: equipment alternatives

Deafblind manual alphabet:

Although it is a language designed for people with sight and hearing loss, the Deafblind Manual can also be a useful communication tool for some people with speech difficulties. Communication is made by using one of your hands to touch your partner's hand, to represent letters of the alphabet to form words. Some hand movements are similar to British Sign Language (BSL). The basic alphabet can be quick and easy to learn, and has the advantage that it can be used anywhere with your interpreter. For further information and to download the Deafblind manual alphabet card visit Sense UK's website.

Makaton core vocabulary system:

The Makaton Core Vocabulary is a language program system aimed to develop your communication, language and literacy skills. It is suitable for both children and adults with a range of communication difficulties. Makaton uses speech and gesture, facial expression, eye contact and body language. The Makaton resource vocabulary comprises over 7,000 concepts in symbols and signs. The signs are derived from British Sign Language (BSL). Training courses, resources and publications are available through the Makaton Charity.

Objects of reference:

With someone you know, it may be possible to devise your own basic communication language or strategy using everyday objects. For example, you could pick up a fork to indicate that you are hungry or that it is time to eat; or perhaps a towel to say that you want to go swimming.

Wrist bands:

Wrist bands can be a simple, inexpensive solution designed for basic communication. For example: bands can be in three colours: green for 'yes', red for 'no' and black for 'mixed'. Symbols can also be attached to the bands, or bands with symbols printed onto them can be purchased so that the basic message is enhanced. They are mainly used in environments where symbol books or voice output communication aids cannot be used (e.g. in a swimming pool). One advantage of this system is that is can be easily understood by an unfamiliar communication partner.

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