Hey sports fans - seen this video doing the rounds of the interpipes?
Deafblind soccer fan Carlos and his friend Hélio have developed a system to help Carlos experience the World Cup, shown here with interpreter Regiane.
This is the first time I’d seen this type of communication in action, so I dug around to find out more about it. In his video description, Hélio references haptic communication as the method being used. This type of communication is also known as tactile signing.
On this Australian Deafblind Information site, haptic communication is described like this:
Social Haptic Communication is broadly defined as the interaction of two or more people in a social context where messages are conveyed using the sense of touch. These messages (or haptices) may contain, but are not limited to information about emotion, facial expression, to map out the environment or a room layout and describing other visual or auditory information such as art or music.
As another reference point, the Danish Association of the Deafblind has produced an English translation of their handbook 103 Haptic Signals - A Reference Book (PDF).
There are a range of ways that a deafblind person might communicate, adapted depending on factors like whether the individual is congenitally deafblind or they have acquired dual sensory loss, and the extent to which the person’s vision and/or hearing is affected:
- Lip reading
- Sign Language, e.g. Auslan
- Signed English
- Key Word Sign (formerly known as Makaton)
- Tactile Signing
- Signs used on the body
- Co-active signing
- Visual frame signing
- Deafblind manual alphabet
- Printing on palm
- Social Haptics
- Body language
- Facial expressions
- Object symbols
- Written (large print writing or typed information)
- Use of communication devices
Thanks to Hélio and Carlos for posting the video and showing us this great example of haptic communication in action.