Fingerspelling is a manual alphabet which in which different shapes of the hands and fingers are used to show the alphabet.

Many deaf people said that they had found fingerspelling a useful tool.  It does, of course, depend on other people knowing how to do it and the deaf person learning how to read it! 

Here is an example:
fingerspelling a-z
fingerspelling a-z 2
This chart was designed by Henesy House

There are other fingerspelling charts on various websites that can be printed off to give to friends or relatives to encourage them to learn it.

These are some of the websites that have fingerspelling charts and other information about fingerspelling:

left-handed fingerspelling chart
right-handed fingerspelling chart

1. Some people said they had encouraged their friends and relatives to learn fingerspelling, which they found very helpful.

2. I learnt fingerspelling a few years ago.  I found it easier to do the fingerspelling than to read it back when someone did it for me, but now that I’ve mastered it, I find it very helpful and have taught it to my husband too.

3. I ask people to fingerspell the first letter or first 2 or 3 letters of names and any words which I can’t lipread or hear: I also ask people to fingerspell words which look the same or similar; for example, if I’m not sure if they’ve said view or few, I ask them to fingerspell it to me. Some family members and some friends know fingerspelling and it is a wonderful help.

4. With words that begin with sounds like sh, ch, j, str, st, etc, I ask people to fingerspell the first few letters.

5. Fingerspelling and the lipreading class: I learnt fingerspelling at my lipreading class.  I find it helps me to communicate better with the other members of the lipreading class who use it.

6. Fingerspelling with members of the deaf community: I like fingerspelling because it helps me communicate with the deaf community which uses sign language.

7. Fingerspelling and grandchildren: Fingerspelling is a point of contact with my grandchildren who have learnt it at school and enjoy using it with me.

Another person said: I have taught my grandchildren to fingerspell and they really enjoy learning it and using it with me. It has also made them much more aware of my needs and they often now communicate better than their parents.

8. I learnt to fingerspell at my lipreading class and I taught it to my husband.  We’re now quite good at it and we’ve found it very useful as it’s quicker than hunting for pen and paper and writing it down when I get stuck on a word.