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Early Communication Tutorial - Overview
Communication Overview ODB Project Home

What is Communication?

Communication is the exchange of a message between two or more people. Through communication, children can make changes in their world, express wants and needs and make choices. Through communication, you can teach a child to play, to learn about the world, to interact with you to do daily tasks, and to work. NCDB (2008).

child and communication partner

Elements of a Good Conversation

Barbara Miles and Marianne Riggio

Good communication can best be thought of as conversation. Conversing with a child who is deafblind can begin with a communication partner who simply notices what the child is paying attention to at the moment and finds a way to let the child know that his or her interest is shared. This is called "mutual attention." If this is a tactile experience, it is known as "mutual tactile attention." Children who are deafblind need conversation partners who know how to have conversations that do not depend exclusively upon sight and hearing and that also do not depend upon language. They need partners who know how to have conversations with their hands, with their bodies, and with touch and movement. They need people willing to interact with them as equal conversational partners.


Observe and listen to Chapters 2-4 of Conversations: A Personal Reflection About Deafblindness by Barbara Miles on the importance of establishing a relationship with the child who is deafblind.

In order to be an effective communication partner, it is important to understand the elements that make a good conversation.

ODB Home | Communication Home | 1. Communication Overview | 2. Assessment
3. Setting Goals | 4. Developing Activities | 5. Monitoring Progress | 6. Updating Program

Western Oregon University | The Research Institute | The Oregon Deafblind Project

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The Oregon Deafblind Project is funded through grant award # H326T130008, OSEP CFDA 84.326T, U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education (OSEP), OSEP Project Officer: Susan Weigert.

However, the contents of this site does not necessarily represent the policy of the US Department of Education, and no assumption of endorsement by the Federal government should be made.

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