TACTILE COMMUNICATIONS, LLC.

TACTILE COMMUNICATIONS               Seattle, WA                Info@tactilecommunications.org

Sarah Morrison, Outreach Coordinator/Curriculum Development

Sarah Morrison, a Tactile communications (TC) graduate, serves as the Outreach Coordinator and curriculum development for Tactile Communications. In this capacity she oversees Tc’s curricula and community outreach as well as ensures that students get the highest quality training experiences.

Sarah joined the TC team with experience in being actively involved with the DeafBlind community in New York. She was on the board for the Support Service Providers program in Rochester, New York as well as involved with the College at Brockport’s Faculty Learning Center’s Disabilities Studies Committee. In addition, she is on the DeafBlind Awareness Day (DBAD) committee where they plan bi-annual DBAD events to promote awareness about the DeafBlind community and their culture in New York. 

Sarah received a Master of Science degree in Deaf Education from National Technical Institute of the Deaf (NTID) at Rochester Institute of Technology. She possesses a rich and vast experience of developing lesson plans, assessments, events, and curriculums. She taught Deaf high school students various subjects, taught literacy to Deaf adults at LaGuardia Community College, taught American Sign Language (ASL) at a public high school, and taught ASL for the State University of New York at The College of Brockport. Academics aside, Sarah also has an appreciation for fitness and wellness. She hosted a fitness group in the past and has participated in different running events. She's eager to promote a more healthier lifestyle for future DeafBlind clients. 

She is excited to be a part of this amazing team where she will focus on DeafBlind community and educational outreach and provide community support/involvement.

Terra Edwards, Research Specialist

Terra Edwards is a faculty member in the department of linguistics at Gallaudet University. She completed a PhD in Anthropology at the University of California, Berkeley, and an MA in Anthropology at the University of Texas, Austin. Her research focuses on the interactional and social foundations of language structure and language use. For the past 18 years, she has pursued this interest in the Seattle DeafBlind community, where a grammatical divergence between Visual American Sign Language (VASL) and Tactile American Sign Language (TASL) is currently underway. Her current research aims to understand the factors driving this divergence in two distinct locations: Seattle, Washington and Washington, DC. In collaboration with the Tactile Communications team, she aims to bring her research findings back to the community, and in doing so, to contribute to emerging debates about pro-tactile approaches to  "rehabilitation," communication, and community-building. 

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. 

aj granda, Teacher
Granda is a teacher, social justice activist, textile artist, and a mom.  She grew up in Carlsbad, California and has moved around the country before making Seattle her home. Granda has since been active in Seattle’s DeafBlind community bringing changes and new ideas for the past 11 years.  She has held various positions with the DeafBlind Service Center and at the Lighthouse for the Blind both as an advocate, teacher and internationally renown Seabeck DeafBlind camp director. aj is one of the contributors to the National Project for Training Support Service Providers and DeafBlind people curriculum; the first training guide of its kind. Also in the past few years in collaboration with Nuccio, she has been developing a new curriculum, providing trainings and contributing to emerging research in the area of Pro-Tactile. Granda's rich background, her ability to connect with students, and her ability to develop innovative new techniques, all make aj a crucial member of the Tactile Communications team. She is a champion of bringing together various communities, perspectives, cultures, and personalities to mediate differences to find a common benefit to all.

MEET THE TACTILE COMMUNICATIONS TEAM, FULL BIOGRAPHIES FOLLOW:

JELICA NUCCIO, Founder

AJ GRANDA, Teacher

SARAH MORRISON, Outreach Coordinator/Curriculum Development

DAVID MILLER, Orientation and Mobility Specialist

TERRA EDWARDS, Research Specialist

​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 service initially working for the Department of Vocational Rehabilitation developing job placements, consultation with employers, 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 intiatives to support the disability community. She also acted as a consultant with King County Metro to develop transportation driver training, served on the board of AADB, and was invited to speak internationally in Israel at the first statewide conference for DeafBlind individuals.  She has extensive experience lobbying at the State and Federal level for DeafBlind rights.  Most recently, Jelica was in Washington DC to ask Congressional and House members to expand service options for DeafBlind individuals. 

Currently, in addition to being the director of TC, Jelica continues to provide Pro-Tactile trainings 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.  She is the co-chair of the first Northwest DeafBlind Conference held by the Washington State DeafBlind Citizens organization.  She is also a proud member of DeafBlind Power, a community-based initiative, aimed at broadening the range of services and service providers available to DeafBlind people.

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