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Training Tips for Support Service Providers

Tips From The Field

  1. If an assignment requires a skill that you don’t have, do not accept the assignment.
  2. Be ready to work ON TIME.
  3. Use a small backpack or fanny pack so that your hands are free for communicating and guiding.
  4. Keep a small bottle of hand sanitizer or pack of hand wipes with you.
  5. In greeting a DeafBlind person, let them know where you are and say your name. Never say, "Hey it’s ME! Don’t you remember me?"
  6. Do not assume that all DeafBlind people want a "gentle touch" or use Pro-Tactile or Haptics. If they don’t offer, then ask.
  7. Except in the case of an emergency, do not take a DeafBlind person by the hand, pull or in any way grab them. Use a gentle “hand under hand” to guide their hand to where it needs to be.
  8. In the case of an emergency, draw a giant “X” on the DeafBlind person’s back. They will grab for you, and without conversation or explanation, you will quickly lead them to safety.
  9. Respect the cane! It’s a personal tool that provides valuable information.
  10. Yes, the cane will hit things, including people. That’s what it does. That’s how the person knows there’s something in his path.
  11. Keep your phone charger handy.
  12. DeafBlind people may ask for your email address or to be friends on social media. Of course this is your decision, but we caution you to maintain your professionalism.

Roles & Responsibilities of DeafBlind Individuals In Using SSPs

DeafBlind individuals are responsible for communicating their needs clearly and respectfully to their Access Providers. This includes their preferences for communication style, placement of communication, managing balance issues, managing a service animal, and travel assistance.

SSP Role at National Convention

  • Guide to/from workshops, seminars, the exhibit hall, restaurants, restrooms, all locations on the hotel’s campus
  • Provide access to information so that the DeafBlind person is aware of:
    • what’s happening
    • who’s around
    • what people are doing, people’s moods
    • the topics of conversations
  • Assist in participation in activities at various workshops, the Exhibit Hall
  • Assist with shopping or errands, including finding items, reading labels
  • Assist in a restaurant
    • describing the lighting conditions
    • guiding to the table and safely seating
    • reading menu, informing when the server is at the table, and when/where food is placed
    • connecting to conversation, at the DeafBlind person’s request
  • Provide assistance with short, social communications exchanges
  • Fully focus their attention at all times on providing service to the DeafBlind person. A no time will the SSP combine personal needs or errands with the job. This means no personal phone calls, texting chatting with others, doing their own shopping, or any other activities that take their focus off the job.


  • Provide services off the hotel’s campus
  • Interpret
  • Teach
  • Clean the hotel room, refrigerator or bathroom
  • Unpack or pack, or move or carry luggage, boxes or any other items
  • Assist with emergencies
  • Drive
  • Do errands without physically being accompanied by the DeafBlind person
  • Provide personal care services (bathing, nail painting, etc.)
  • Bring spouse, relative or friend to come along during an assignment
  • Store personal items
  • Walk, feed or otherwise take care of service animals for the DeafBlind person
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