Touch cues or on-body signing are simple signs which are made in a consistent manner to inform pupils about what is going to happen. They are usually used with children who have multi-sensory impairments who would find it difficult to access conventional methods of communication.
Touch cues need to be used consistently to enable the pupil to assign meaning to them. Gentle but firm pressure should be used so that the pupil may distinguish them from other forms of touch contact, i.e. being moved or positioned. In school we focus on the touch cues for hello (a circle with your finger on the back of their hand), goodbye (hand under hand waving), we are going to move (three taps to the shoulder) and finished (full hand stroking down the arm from the shoulder to the wrist).
For those pupils for whom it is appropriate we also sign to eat (touching one side of the child’s mouth). Touch cues can be individualised to the pupil and do not need to follow a prescribed form. Touch cues are a form of receptive language; there is no natural progression to conventional signing through the use of them.