touch made in a consistent manner directly on the body to communicate
with a child.
communicate a variety of purposes (e.g., request, information, praise,
greeting). Touch cues may reduce startle or inappropriate behaviors
by helping the child anticipate what is about to happen. Touch cues
signal the communicators intent.
one side of the childs mouth means "Get ready to eat."
the childs right shoulder means "I like that." (praise)
the back of the childs hand means, "Here I am."
the childs hair means "I am going to brush your hair."
a child has a severe neurological impairment, the type and placement
of touch must be carefully selected. In most cases, a touch cue
that is firm is more effective than a light stroke. The childs
physical and occupational therapist should be consulted.
cues should be easy for the child to discriminate from other physical
contact (e.g., when being positioned).
cues are easy to develop and do not require formal instruction.
child does not need motor skills to receive touch cues.
cues can be individualized for each child.
- Touch cues
support a childs communication and participation in familiar
routines (e.g., a caregiver can give a child a touch cue, then pause
and wait for the child to indicate readiness or anticipation of the
next step in the routine).
use of touch cues may be uncomfortable for the communication partner
and the receiver because of differences in their age, gender, relationship,
culture and experiences.
cues 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
cues may not be used consistently or made in the same way by everyone
who interacts with the child.
cues that are selected poorly or used inappropriately may startle
or confuse the child.
Cues 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.
D. (1999). Beginning communication with infants. In D. Chen (Ed.). Essential
elements in early intervention. Visual impairments and multiple disabilities
(pp. 337-377). New York: AFB Press.
E. (1987). Getting in touch. [Video]. Champaign, IL: Research
J.C. (1999). Non-verbal communication: Cues, signals and symbols. [On-line].
& Hummell, J. (1993). Supporting the receptive communication
of individuals with significant multiple disabilities: Selective use
of touch to enhance comprehension (Monograph Series No. 4). North
Rocks, Australia: The Royal New South Wales Institute for Deaf and Blind
L. (1984). Touch the baby: Blind and visually impaired children as
patients: Helping them respond to care. New York: American Foundation
for the Blind.
C., Schweigert, P. & Prickett, J. (1995). Communication systems,
devices, and modes. In K.M. Huebner, J.G. Prickett, T.R.Welch, and E.
Joffee (Eds.), Hand in hand: Essentials of communication and orientation
and mobility for your students who are deaf-blind (p.p.219-259).
New York: American Foundation for the Blind.
C., & Stremel-Campbell, K. (1987). Share and share alike. Conventional
gestures to emergent language for learners with sensory impairments.
In L. Goetz, D. Guess & K. Stremel-Campbell (Eds.), Innovative
program design for individuals with dual sensory impairments. (pp.49-75).
Baltimore: Paul H. Brookes.
(1993). Using tactile signals and cues [Video]. Logan, UT: HOPE.