Coining Tactile Signs: A Guided Experience of Tactile Communication for People with Acquired Deafblindness and their Communication Partners


  • Mariana Silva Algorta



acquired deafblindness, tactile communication, coining signs


Introduction: When hearing and vision are affected simultaneously, communication can be challenging (Nordic Welfare Centre, 2016). However, undertaking a bodily – tactile modality of communication can benefit the interactions for people with acquired deafblindness and their partners (Lahtinen, 2008). This research aimed to understand the process of creating tactile communication. It focused on analysing the process of coining tactile signs for specific objects. Method: A qualitative and descriptive case study was conducted, utilizing video-analysis and questionnaires. An intervention was based on a learning guide and inspired by the project Landscape of Touch (Tactile Communication Group DbI, 2012). Different activities of tactile communication, progressive in complexity, led the participants to a final experience of coining (the creation of) their own tactile signs. Results: The results showed three blended stages in the coining process, tactile exploration, information selection and negotiation of meaning. The coined signs were compared with their visual pair of NZSL [New Zealand Sign Language] finding several similarities in their components. This research had an expanding effect on the participant’s perspective of tactile communication and the possibility of integrating it to their daily life. Conclusion and Discussion: Further research on sign coining and tactile elements in the communication, including individual experiences, is essential for developing good practices for educators and support service providers in this field. It is recommended to use video analysis as a tool to observe the details in the handmovements. Some limitations in this study were the application in a case study, therefore no generalisations can be made, and the access to technology limited the possibilities for other possible participants.