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Object and Touch Cues

WHAT ARE CUES?: A type of Receptive Communication Mode

Object Cues: A real object or part of an object used to represent an activity, place, or routine.


 Examples:        Spoon= time to eat

                         Cup= time to drink

                         Diaper= time to change diaper

Touch Cues: Actions or signals performed on the person's body to represent what is about to happen


   Examples:  Go = touch elbow

                   Drink = move finger down throat

                   Eat = move finger across lips


More Information on Cues


Suggestions for using cues - as stated by Technical Assistance for Sensory Impairments:

  • Partners should agree upon a cue and use it consistently in everyday routines or activities in order to provide information for the person.
  • Initially, properties of smell, temperature, and texture may be used to increase the amount of sensory input. The type of cue selected depends upon what is represented.  For example, if an object is not associated with the activity, a touch cue may be selected. 
  • If sufficient residual vision is present, a gestural cue may be selected. Selection of cues depends upon the person’s age, preferences, and opportunities for interaction within his environment.
  • To establish an expressive use of the cues, follow a consistent pattern when using the cues.  For example, introduce the cue, wait for a consistent and active response (e.g. the person opens his mouth when the cue for “mealtime” is presented), and then respond to the response by performing the action which the cue represents.  An additional suggestion is to look for the behavior (e.g. open mouth) to occur at other times, and to respond to that behavior.
  • Cues can also be used expressively by an individual through choice-making and expression of preferences when two or more objects are presented.

Websites and Articles to discover more about Object and Touch Cues:


California Deaf Blind Services


ACN Conventional Gestures.pdf  
AJSLP Conventional Gestures.pdf
CCBDD Conventional Gestures Checklist.pdf  
Closing the Gap- Back to Basics article.pdf
Colorado Services to Children with DeafBlindness Fact  
The Isaac Bulletin - Have you used Tangibles Lately  
Types of Tangible Symbols.pdf 

Tangible Symbols.pdf 

Note: Any specific product, company, or vendor that appears on this site is for information only, and does not represent an endorsement by the Cuyahoga County Board of DD.


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Cuyahoga County Board of Developmental Disabilities
1275 Lakeside Avenue East
Cleveland, Ohio 44114-1129
PHONE: (216)241-8230 - FAX: (216)861-0253