Forms of Tactile Communication


Body Signs


Body signing is the direct production of manual signs onto the hands, body, face and limbs of a person who is deafblind/dual sensory impaired.

It is a formalized system of touch clues -- the difference is that each touch is related to a standardized manual sign and can be assigned a specific meaning.   As body signs are the same as manual deaf signs, this makes communication easier to learn.

This in turn expands the number of people that a person who is deafblind can communicate with.


Body signs are quick and the simplest form of signs to transmit, they can be transmitted by pointing, drawing or moving your hand on the person's  hands or body.   A large portion of signs are made directly onto the hands of the person, this allows finger spelling to be incorporated where there is no manual sign.


The structure and presentation of body signs makes if easy for a person to transfer the receptive communication they are feeling into an expressive manual sign. This is because signs can be produced directly onto the person to express feeling and/or concept the person is experiencing right then and there (such as activities, food, and sensation). Communication can be transmitted while the person is doing an activity with minimal interruption, allowing instant reinforcement of language and concept.


Body Signing methodology encourages the person who is communicating to use of speech while making signs. The methodology also encourages the recipient of communication to actively engage in tactile examination of objects when being communicated to.



  • Body signs avoids excessive hand manipulation which many non verbal people object to. Body signs can be presented in front of the person. This provides more flexibility when faced with a person who is challenging, active, or has behavioural difficulties.
  • Body signing alerts to activities
  • Body signing can be used on people with additional disabilities


To find out more about body signing please click on this link below written by the originally developer of the concept of body signing.














 Content & Site design © Sandy A. Joint (2018) Sign photos © G Mathiesen (1998-2018)