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Importance of the Hands and Touch

For all of us, our hands serve many purposes. They are part of our communication system—our gestures communicate messages such as waving hello and express feelings such as giving a thumbs up.

They are tools that help us survive in the world.

Now think of the extra roles hands play for individuals who are deaf-blind. Their use in communication expands and for many touch compensates for other senses. In addition to their usual role as tools, they become “useful and intelligent sense organs, allowing people without sight and hearing to have access to objects, people, and language that would otherwise be inaccessible to them” (Miles, 2003).

See also: Tactile Learning Strategies

Barbara Miles discusses how touch is important for all of us but serves an additional purpose of providing access for individuals who are deaf-blind.

The earlier a child who is deafblind can learn to use his hands as finely tuned receptors, the more likely he will be to make optimum use of his hands to get information (Miles, 2003).


Miles, B. (2003). Talking the language of the hands to the hands. DB-LINK: The National Information Clearinghouse on Children Who Are Deaf-Blind. 


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