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 used to be 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.
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.