A standard manual
sign that a signer produces directly on the receivers body instead
of on his/her own body.
provide an effective method of communicating a manual sign tactilely
to a child who is unable to perceive the sign visually. Designed to
assist the development of receptive communication by children who are
deaf-blind and who have extremely limited expressive and receptive communication.
Signer places the tips of his or her index and middle fingers
on the childs palm.
TO SLEEP: Signer places his or her palm on childs
the sign touch the childs body where the child would typically
produce the sign if using it expressively (e.g., sign MOTHER by
touching the childs chin with the thumb of your 5 handshape).
a child has a severe neurological impairment, the type and placement
of touch must be selected carefully. In most cases, a sign on body
that involves a firm touch (STAND) is more effective than one that
involves a light movements (e.g., WAIT). The childs physical
and occupational therapist should be consulted.
on body must be easy for the child to discriminate from other physical
contact, (e.g., when being positioned).
not require the child to have motor skills.
children may be more receptive to having signs made on their bodies
than having their hands manipulated through sign movements.
made on the childs body keeps the child in contact with others
and helps prepare the child for other forms of tactile communication
(e.g., coactive signs, touching objects).
sign can be made on the childs body while the child is examining
an object, engaging in an activity, or demonstrating an emotion
(i.e., the meaning of the sign can be connected simultaneously with
use of "sign of body" may be uncomfortable for the communication
partner and the receiver because of differences in their age, gender,
relationship, culture, and experiences.
sender and the receiver need to know each other well and be comfortable
with using signs on body.
creation of idiosyncratic signs for an individual child who is deaf-blind
limits the number of communication partners.
potential vocabulary of signs on body is limited and other communication
methods will be needed.
child may perceive a sign on the body as a touch cue.
on body are limited to receptive communication and in the types
of messages that may be conveyed (e.g., letting the child know what
is about to happen, providing comfort, providing praise or making
a request).Signs on body may not be used consistently or make in
the same way by everyone who interacts with the child.
signs involve movements that are difficult for the receiver to perceive
if the sign is made on his or her body.
on body that are selected poorly or used inappropriately may startle
or confuse the child.
on body that are poorly selected or used inappropriately may startle,
annoy, or confuse the child (e.g., trigger an aversive reaction if
the child does not like a particular type of touch or being touched).
on Body represents a synthesis of information from Project SALUTEs
focus groups, National Advisory Committee, staff activities, and a review
of relevant literature such as the following bibliography.
Here for Examples
S. (1998). Body signing: A functional strategy for introducing language
to students who are deafblind. Deaf-Blind Review, 21, 10-11.
Borellini, B., & Mathiesen, G. (1998). The survival guide: Tactile
signs for deafblind and dual sensory impaired people who do not have
language. Australia: Deafblind Association of Queensland.