Sign Climb System

Promoting Inclusive Communication in Rock Climbing

Communication is essential to our everyday lives. It’s how we make decisions, involve ourselves in the world and interact with others. Traditionally, we use words, either spoken or written, as our primary communication method but for a large portion of society, these methods are not accessible.

Rock climbing relies on good communication for safety, building trust and improving skill. For those with communication difficulties this poses some challenges. After all, how do you communicate with a deaf person at the top of a wall? How do you simplify climbing language and processes for those with learning difficulties?

Our development team were determined to break down preconceptions and create a new way of communicating that enabled a safe and inclusive environment. After 18 months of research, consultation and piloting, iDID developed an cross-ability communication method to improve inclusion, known as the iDID Sign Climb System.

What is the Sign Climb System©?

Consisting of 10 Guiding Signs and 3 Safety Signs, the Sign Climb System is a cross-disability communication method to increase accessibility in rock-climbing for individuals affected by communication difficulties.

The system works by replacing, or supporting verbal communication with a series of signs to communicate essential support, guidance and safety instructions when participation in the sport of indoor rock climbing.

The sport of rock climbing relies on a unique relationship between both the climber and the belayer, or spotter. It is this relationship that allows both parties to progress to the next level.

The iDID Sign Climb System aims to break down communication barriers and enable individuals, regardless of their needs, to work together and enjoy rock climbing in a fun and safe manner.

Who can benefit from the Sign Climb System©?

The concept of the Sign Climb System was originally inspired by iDID’s mission to improve access for deaf and hard of hearing individuals.
As the concept developed, our research found that the system was of huge benefit to people with a wide range of communication needs.

  • Deaf & Hard of Hearing*
  • Learning Difficulties & Learning Disabilities
  • Dyslexia
  • Autistic Spectrum Conditions

*Please note that although the system is a signed communication method, it is not British Sign Language.

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As a social enterprise, we invest the money we make through sales back in to achieving our social aims. Buying with iDID means you are directly contributing to our community and development work.

The Sign Climb System is included in our Deaf Awareness in Rock Climbing course. This course is for those seeking a comprehensive understanding of how you can be inclusive for deaf and hard of hearing climbers and ways you can adapt your delivery. To maximise the impact of the system, we are now making it available outside of the course.

Buy our flashcard pack for just £35

iDID Sign Climb System used at The Climbing Academy, Bristol

Graphics produced by Deaf Books. Copyright © 2013 BSL sign graphics Cath Smith.