Provincial Outreach Program for Students with Deafblindness

Total Communication Approach

Each person with deafblindness experiences a unique combination of vision and hearing loss such that making sense of his/her surroundings can be difficult. Each person with deafblindness may gather parts of information in different ways about what is happening in the environment through his/her senses. The Provincial Outreach Program for Students with Deafblindness supports the use of a Total Communication Approach when working with an individual with a dual sensory loss.

In the Total Communication Approach, the Intervenor uses a combination of communication methods and modes for the individual with deafblindness. The combination of communicative methods and modes are specific to the individual so as to provide the best opportunity for understanding. Examples of methods and modes of communication that may be used in combination include:

  • Object cues
  • Touch cues
  • Tactile cues
  • Speech/Voice
  • Vocalizations
  • Intonation
  • Gestures
  • Sign language
  • Facial expressions
  • Body language
  • Photographs
  • Drawings
  • Line drawings
  • Print
  • Braille
  • Abstract Symbols
  • Technology