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Appendix B: Sign language for health

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HealthWiki > A Health Handbook for Women with Disabilities > Appendix: Sign language for health


In most communities around the world, deaf people have created their own sign language. They use signs to communicate as well and nearly as fast as hearing people do. The signs shown here are from several countries. The sign for the same word can be different in different places. Use these signs as a guide. If you are a health worker, family member, or caregiver, ask the deaf women in your community to teach you the signs they use, how you should change and adapt these signs, and to teach you other signs. Sign language can help you make sure deaf women in your community get good health care.

Contents

SIGNS HEALTH WORKERS NEED TO KNOW

Here are examples of some signs a health worker needs to know to provide good health services for deaf women. Sometimes signs are based on gestures, and sometimes by finger-spelling letters of the alphabet.

Pain

from Great Britain

from China

Signs that point at the body

Body parts can be pointed at to show where
a pain is. For example, to show a pain in the
belly, make the sign for pain and then point
to the belly.

Signs that use gestures

Here are examples of other signs to use in a health setting. These signs mostly use gestures:

AIDS Infection Medicine
from Kenya from China from Vietnam from Great Britain from the US from Kenya
Family
Planning
Sex
from Vietnam from Kenya from Vietnam from Kenya
Vagina Condom
from Vietnam from Kenya from Vietnam from Kenya
Monthy bleeding
(menstruation)
from Vietnam from Great Britain from Kenya


Signs that use finger spelling

Many words can be understood by using finger spelling. For instance:

STI Condom
S
T
I
C
O
N
D
O
M
from the US from the US
Condom
from China from Vietnam
HIV
from China from Vietnam in Arabic Sign Language


Other useful words to learn signs for

Here are suggestions for other words it would be good for a health worker to learn in a local sign language:

abortion chills no feeling (numb) passing urine
abuse clean/wash fever pelvis
anus cramps growth (on skin
or inside body
penis
birth cuts/sores/tears pregnant
blood/bleeding depression itchy rape
blurred vision diarrhea labor sleeping problems
breast discharge lump sweating
breastfeeding dizzy medicines swollen
breathing drugs miscarriage tenderness
problems dry mucus vomiting
burning exams
(examinations)
nausea
(feeling sick)
weak
changes in color womb
contractions exercise nervous
cough faint passing stool


Signs for numbers

Numbers can be used to say how long the person has had a problem (how many times, how many days, weeks, or months). Numbers from 1 to 5 can also be used to say how bad a pain is, with 1 as the smallest amount of pain, and 5 as the largest.

Examples of British Sign Language
0
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10

Sign alphabet

Examples from one-handed American Sign Language alphabet
A
B
C
D
E
F
G
H
I
J
K
L
M
N
O
P
Q
R
S
T
U
V
W
X
Y
Z



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