Total Communication

Signs and Signing

Signs are based on gestures – a form of communication that most of us use naturally.

Signing is a visual form of communication and should support speech not replace it.

Signing supports people with communication difficulties in many ways:-

  • Signs give extra visual information about the words used in the message making it easier to understand.
  • The extra visual cues given in signs supports the learning of new words and helps to model how and when to use them.
  • Signs provide people with unclear or limited speech a way to communicate messages that can be clearly and successfully understood.
  • Signing as we speak causes us to slow our speech down and use less words which helps people understand the message more easily.
  • Using signs can ease frustration and take the pressure off speech when it is hard to do!
  • Using signs can help to gain attention and maintain it.

When signing it is important to :-

  • Speak and sign at the same time.
  • Only sign the most important or key words in the message.
  • Use facial expressions and body language to add more information to the message.
  • Use your dominant hand to make the main movements of the sign.

There are many types of sign language – click on the links below to find out more information.  Our signs are taken from the British Sign Language (BSL)

See some signs here –

Finger Spelling

Do you want to know the finger spellings for the alphabet?

We use finger spelling to sign the 1st letter of peoples names and places.

The Royal Association for Deaf People have kindly allowed us to publish their chart.


Alternative sites that demonstrate signing are:

Inclusive Communication Essex
Singing Hands
Baby Sign Language

Oxfordshire Total Communication – photos, pictures and symbols
Communication Matters