Breaking News: 03-26-2020 Announcement!

Hello! We are letting you know that TC will be closed until further noticed due to the COVID-19 outbreak. The opening date will be determined at a later date. Please read the following below from a collaboration of DB leaders and WOU regarding the COVID-19 outbreak.

DBI, the DeafBlind Interpreting National Training & Resource Center, recognizes that there is little existing protocol that guides us in how to navigate a national emergency or pandemic. We reached out to our core team of DeafBlind leaders, educators, and mentors, and asked for their thoughts on how to engage with interpreters safely at this time. Below is a compilation of their thoughts.

DeafBlind leaders weigh in on how to work with DeafBlind folks during the COVID-19 pandemic:

From Jelica Nuccio, DeafBlind leader and consultant to DBI:
"I’m not considered an expert in public health, but if it is a medical setting, interpreters would follow the same protocols and precautions as medical professionals. For every new patient, the interpreter would need to wash their hands before and after the assignment, and wear a mask and new gloves. DeafBlind patients also need to wear a mask and wash their hands before and after the appointment. Both the interpreter and DeafBlind patient need to be aware to NOT touch the face. Recommended practice would include the DeafBlind patients wearing disposable gowns and interpreters wear scrubs. For daily non-medical interpreting work, or SSP/Co-Navigator work, the same protocol should apply: both the interpreter and/or SSP/CN and the DeafBlind person should wear gloves and masks in public."

From Jason “Jaz” Herbers, DeafBlind mentor and educator with DBI:
“Of course, when following any protocol or practice, it is critical to include respect for communication and the DeafBlind person’s autonomy and be sure to inform the DeafBlind person of this protocol.”

From John Lee Clark, DeafBlind author and poet, and lead trainer with DBI:
“My biggest thought is not how to work with DeafBlind people, but WHO. Generally, the goal of shutdowns, social distancing, etc. is to slow down the spread, to flatten the curve. It is understood that this will not stop it.

I think we (DeafBlind people) may be getting “targeted” with such concerns and questions because we’re tactile people. But as it was before the virus hit, we’re a population already relentlessly isolated because of distantism. Very few of us go to bars or rock concerts, for example, and we’re already more housebound than most people. One way to look at this is we were already in quarantine all along, virus or no virus.

So it bothers me to think that our already minimal social contact would be debated, you know? Since we were never socially mobile, we are not a population that needs to be ordered to hole up.

Instead, let’s focus on minimizing risk and WHO it is that DeafBlind people work with. For example, we probably don’t want a 65-year-old interpreter to come and do work as a Communication Facilitator (CF), or a SSP/CN who lives with their 93-year-old mother. A friend needed two CFs to come in for a teleconference. He made inquiries and found two good ones who were “dead-end” people—who’ve been effectively distancing themselves, don’t live with anyone high risk for COVID complications, etc. So he seized on those two and they were happy to do the work. They understand that the virus MAY get passed among them, but they’ve considered and accepted that risk.

Jelica is right about working in medical settings. Given the choice of going to the hospital only to be pushed around and poked at without communication or staying at home and dying there, I would rather stay home. We don’t want the fear of the thing to prevent us from seeking care we need or obtaining essentials in a way that feels human and comfortable.

Another thing to consider is the difference between potentially passing it on to someone high risk and potentially receiving it as a high risk person. We need to look at that and choose, match, assign, and modify practices accordingly. WHO it is is very important.”

From DBI:
As an organization, DBI stands in solidarity with the DeafBlind community in the face of this crisis. We seek their leadership in how to best ensure access to critical information, resources, and services. We also call on each person in our networks to do their part as they are able. There may be less opportunities for physical contact at this time, but perhaps there are other ways that each of us can support our local community, by offering to pick up groceries, giving a ride so someone doesn't have to take public transportation, or offering to pick up a meal from a local restaurant. At DBI, we believe that the role of a PT interpreter goes far beyond simply interpreting between languages, but rather extends into learning how to navigate our lives in connection with, and alongside of, the DeafBlind community. We encourage you to reach out and ask your local community how you can show up and support them at this time. That is the true spirit and nature of what we want to promote at DBI.

For more information on DBI, please visit our website or other links provided below.

OUR VISION

DBI envisions a world that celebrates the life and culture of DeafBlind persons, a world where DeafBlind people have influence and control over their destiny and dreams.

OUR MISSION

The mission of DBI is to honor the diversity and range of communication preferences of DeafBlind individuals, or those who have a combination of vision and hearing loss, by increasing the range and number of culturally-competent and qualified interpreters and mentors.

OUR CORE VALUES

Among many others, DBI holds these core values as it conducts its work:
Autonomy: We are committed to supporting the autonomy of DeafBlind individuals and those with a combination of vision and hearing loss.
Integrity: We value the integrity of our relationship with the DeafBlind community through the life of the grant and beyond.
Collaboration: We recognize the key to creating change is engaging in active collaboration with our mentors, community partners, stakeholders and service providers.
Humanity: We work to honor our collective humanity and respect the DeafBlind’s community’s culture.
Results: We believe in the strength of evidence-based practices and that without evaluation, effectiveness and impact cannot be measured or assumed.
Trust: We believe that the DeafBlind Community’s language is unique and are honored to be entrusted by the DeafBlind community and RSA to carry out this important work and take this responsibility very seriously.
Stewardship: We recognize the fiscal and programmatic responsibility given to us by our funders and are committed to ethical and responsible practices in all we do.

Breaking News: 10-29-2018 Announcement!

Hello! Jelica Nuccio here [PT Name Sign: fanning/pressing fingers on the chest or other area of the person you are talking to and then tucking closed fingers into a “pocket” on the chest, like you’re collecting rays of sunshine and tucking them in to keep]. Vince and I are very excited to finally be making this announcement. We did it! We actually moved to Monmouth, Oregon on September 11th, 2018. We love the Seattle DeafBlind community and we value our experience there more than we can express. Every single year of our 21 years there was full of powerful, incredible experiences. Vince and I both grew so much there. We moved to Monmouth because we wanted to know what it’s like to live in a small town and have a small PT community there. We also see a lot of potential here to collaborate with Western Oregon University and we were able to purchase a “PT House” here, which will allow us to do many exciting things with and for our community. Monmouth has two main streets—if you are thinking of a city—that is the wrong idea, smile. Monmouth is a tiny tiny town. We live in the center of it and from where we live, everything is within 5 blocks: small grocery store, the post office, the dog park, the medical clinic, the University campus, the library, coffee places, pizza places, busses, etc. We can walk a lot of places—you’re not always stuck riding busses, and this is really a great start for autonomy. Next, we are going to meet with the City of Monmouth to get accessible cross-walk signals, and other things that will make autonomy even more achievable and will be really great for TC students who come to stay here. Vince is also going to get his art business off the ground here in Monmouth. He has been working on acquiring a CNC machine - which can build complex things into tactile products. Imagine a tactile map of Oregon with the rivers, mountains, state borders, and some landmarks al embedded into one product.

The PT house itself is going to be a place where TC students, a CNC shop, and members of research teams can come for full immersion into a PT environment. The house has 4 bedrooms, a living room with an office space in it where meetings can be held. There is a dining room, which will be organized in a PT style, a kitchen, a bathroom, outside there is a large deck and a lot of space. So this is our new, TC facility.

We want to express our gratitude and love for the Seattle DeafBlind community, as well as our excitement about this new chapter. We are excited to meet new people, to explore new possibilities, and to see TC grow.

With hugs,
Jelica, Vince and two pups Cubby and Maxx

"Building Community Through Touch"

Tactile Communications is committed to maximizing the autonomy of DeafBlind people by providing necessary training in a linguistically and culturally appropriate setting. Our aim is to give DeafBlind people the tools they need to become active, productive members of society and in doing so, to improve the quality of their lives.

We provide training using the ProTactile approach in the following areas:

  • Braille proficiency and computer access via Braille display and/or Braille Note.
  • Language and communication skills: Training in TASL.
  • Adaptive Strategies: Proficiency in a range of adaptive strategies for daily tasks such as cooking and cleaning; as well as training for community living such as how to use SSPs and interpreters effectively.
  • Orientation and Mobility: Learning how to travel safely and use public transportation.
  • What do you need? Please contact us for any specialized service you feel would make an impact for you!​