Meet the Tactile Communications Team
(full biographies follow)

Jelica Nuccio, Founder
David Miller, Orientation and Mobility
Terra Edwards, Research
Lorri Edwards, Curriculum and Training Consultant
Yashaira Romilus, Community Education and Outreach
Jasper Norman, Community Education and Outreach

Jelica Nuccio, Founder

Jelica’s life experience as a student, teacher, academic, presenter, and DeafBlind individual have come full circle with the establishment of Tactile Communications in 2014. Jelica spent her early career in the biological sciences, before getting her Masters in Public Health and going to work for Emory University and the Center for Disease Control providing health education to the Deaf community.

As her teaching skills developed, Jelica was drawn to Seattle and the opportunity to connect with the DeafBlind community there. Once moving to Seattle, Jelica quickly dove into providing services initially working for the Department of Vocational Rehabilitation developing job placements, consultation with employers, and evaluating and implementing accessibility in the workplace.

Jelica emerged as a leader in the Seattle DeafBlind community when she became the Executive Director of the DeafBlind Service Center (DBSC) in Seattle in 2005. DBSC provides direct service to DeafBlind individuals such as advocacy, case management and a program for providing Support Service Providers (SSPs). During Jelica’s tenure (2005-2010), she implemented new initiatives for DBSC. One such addition was a program for providing Communication Facilitators (CFs), which allows DeafBlind individuals to access the videophone to place phone calls by using an in-person facilitator to copy sign phone conversations. Nuccio was also one of the developers and trainers for the National SSP Project Curriculum (http://seattledbsc.org/dbssp-curriculum), which is the first of its kind.

As Jelica’s experience grew she was sought out for systems advocacy and consultant roles within Washington State and beyond. She was appointed to the Washington State Governor’s Council on Disability and Employment working with various agencies to provide the Governor with initiatives to support the disability community. She also acted as a consultant with King County Metro to develop transportation driver training and, served on the board of the American Association of the DeafBlind (AADB). She has extensive experience lobbying at the State and Federal level for DeafBlind rights.

Currently, in addition to being the director of TC, Jelica continues to provide trainings in protactile language and culture nationwide to DeafBlind people and service providers. Additionally she instructs others how to work with Legislators and establish SSP and CF services. Jelica is a contractor with the Seattle Lighthouse for the Blind and for the Washington Assistive Technology Program (WATAP) as a braille and computer braille instructor.

Jelica looks forward to the many more years of service to the DeafBlind community in any capacity that promotes the autonomy of DeafBlind individuals.

David Miller, Orientation and Mobility Specialist

David Miller is a Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialist (COMS). He earned an MA in Vision Rehabilitation Services from California State University, Los Angeles, and after two years working in Portland, Oregon, moved to the Seattle Lighthouse for the Blind, where he has worked since then. He has nearly 30 years of experience in the field and has specialized in providing effective instruction through direct communication with DeafBlind clients. He has presented at professional conferences, is actively involved in mentoring interns, and has also acted as a consultant on city pedestrian improvements, with traffic signal engineers, transit agencies, and on accessibility initiatives. Through these experiences, he has become familiar with the challenges DeafBlind people face as they strive to maintain their personal independence and vitality in complex urban environments. David’s teaching methods are designed to meet the personal needs of the individual through a cooperative process of evaluation and training. He follows a community-based model with a strong emphasis on self and community advocacy. He believes that in addition to acquiring tools for orientation and mobility, those who advocate for their access needs can bring about the changes necessary to improve the transportation system and aspects of the urban environment that make the world a safer place for the DeafBlind community over time.

Terra Edwards, Research Specialist

Terra Edwards is a linguistic anthropologist. She completed a PhD in Anthropology at the University of California, Berkeley in 2014 and was a member of the faculty of the Department of Linguistics at Gallaudet University from 2014-2017. She is now Professor of Anthropology at Saint Louis University. Her research focuses on the interactional and social foundations of language structure and language use. For the past 20 years, she has pursued this interest in the Seattle DeafBlind community, where a new, tactile language is emerging. She collaborates closely with the Tactile Communications team in conducting her research and ensuring that research findings are available to relevant stake-holders. In doing so, she aims not only to broaden scientific understandings of language, but also to contribute to emerging debates about protactile approaches to training DeafBlind individuals in linguistically and culturally appropriate settings.

Lorri Edwards, Curriculum and Training Consultant

Lorri Edwards is co-director of the EDIT group, a consulting firm focused on effective implementation of significant training initiatives. The firm enters into partnerships with organizations seeking to maximize training effectiveness through the adoption of clearly defined, research-based and replicable training practices, including curriculum, delivery, and tracking systems. Edwards holds a B.S and M.S. degree in Audiology and Speech Sciences, an M.Ed. degree in School Administration.