Communicating With Deafblind

In the video I shared on Friday, I found interesting to see not only the tactile (under hand) signing but also the involvement of the woman on the right using movements on the young man’s back.

A while ago, my husband had some training in Seattle to accompany Deafblind as a Support Service Provider. At that time, the only movement used on the back was an “X” to be drawn in case of emergency. It turns out that there is a much more comprehensive way of physically communicating with Deafblind sometimes referred to as “back-channelling”.

A form of the language, called Haptic Communication, has been used in Scandinavia for many years. A more recent, more encompassing, method spearheaded by two Deafblind women in Seattle, WA is called Pro-Tactile.

(English transcripts are available here.)

According to Christine Roschaert, the blogger behind Tactile The World, Pro-Tactile provides “environmental information (example: head nodding of the other person, person entering/leaving, nonverbal cues) and noises/facial expressions since many Deafblind people cannot hear or see, or have very limited access to information easily seen/heard/understood by Deaf and hearing sighted people.” This is so exciting! I look forward to learning more and hopefully having the privilege to communicate through Pro-Tactile someday.

For more information about Pro-Tactile and Haptic Communication, read Christine’s post here.

p.s. I just stumbled across this! Read Andy Palmer’s (of The Limping Chicken) more in-depth discussion of what we saw in the video here.

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