Paraquad

Making St. Louis Accessible
for Over 40 Years

Communication Tips

Communication Tips

  • Get the Deaf person's attention before you begin to speak; it is acceptable to tap a person lightly on the shoulder or arm or to wave a hand, small piece of paper or cloth gently in the person's direction to attract his or her attention.
  • Make sure the Deaf person can clearly see your mouth and face. Don't eat, smoke, chew gum or hold your hands in front of your mouth while you talk.
  • Allow the interpreter to stand or sit slightly behind you to one side, so the Deaf client can see both you and the interpreter simultaneously.
  • Speak directly to the deaf client, not to the interpreter.
  • Speak and enunciate clearly and normally, but don't exaggerate your lip movements and use facial expressions and body language to clarify your message. Maintain eye contact throughout the conversation.
  • Remember that everything you say will be interpreted, just as everything the Deaf client says will be interpreted.
  • Please ask the Deaf client to repeat the comment if you miss or do not understand something that has been spoken.
  • Use pencil and paper or visual aids as necessary.
  • Do not allow a coworker who has taken sign language classes to interpret for the Deaf consumer.
  • Do not use family members or friends to interpret; the Deaf consumer has a legal right to a professionally qualified Interpreter.
  • Do not ask the interpreter to help the Deaf consumer complete forms; the interpreter interprets the questions, but does not personally answer them.
  • Equip your business, office, etc, with assistive devices for the Deaf, such as TTY, smoke alarm strobe light, flashers and TV with closed captioning with people who are Deaf and/or Hard of Hearing.