Haptics: Using Touch to Convey Visual and Environmental Information to People who are Deaf-Blind

Image: a woman seated in a wheel chair.  The picture is taken from behind her.  Another woman is seated to her left and slightly behind her and has her two fingers on her back.
Price: $179.99


Purpose of the Training

This online course provides an introductory level of training in Haptics focusing on the fundamentals of Haptics including definitions, history, practical implementation and specific signal formation and use. Haptics is a standardized system for providing and receiving visual and environmental information as well as personal reactions/social feedback via touch signals on the body.  

Course Structure

The course is structured so learners can follow at a pace that is comfortable for them. Participants are encouraged to take the course with a partner or in a small group. This structure provides learners with the opportunity to practice the techniques on others and complete all of the suggested activities. While this is encouraged, it is not mandatory. Those who study the course alone will learn the foundations of Haptics and be able to practice techniques when they are out in the community. This Haptics course is suitable for both beginners or as a “refresher” course for those who have already completed a hands-on workshop or training through HKNC.

While it is not mandatory for completing the course, participants are encouraged to purchase the book, Haptic Communication, The American Edition of the Original Title Haptisk Kommunikasjon. This book version will serve as a reference and resource to learners as they practice their skills using Haptics in the community.

Throughout this training series, we use the term deaf-blind to refer to a diverse population of individuals with varying degrees of combined vision and hearing loss. Helen Keller National Center has historically followed the guidelines that the consumer organization, American Association of the Deaf-Blind (AADB) established by using the term “deaf-blind.” Recently, AADB changed its use of the term to “DeafBlind.” HKNC is a federally funded agency authorized by the US Congress and, therefore, does not have the authority to change their use of the term deaf-blind to DeafBlind. HKNC recognizes the value behind the term DeafBlind, that each person’s experience is unique and includes much more than his or her vision and hearing loss. HKNC continues to align its philosophy and services with this meaning and recognizes the community’s preference for the term DeafBlind. HKNC continues to work with federal authorities to change the term from deaf-blind to DeafBlind.

Course Objectives

At the completion of this course, individuals will be able to:

  1.  Demonstrate an understanding of the term “Haptics” and identify at least 2 important functions of Haptics.
  2.  Explain the background and history of Haptics.
  3.  Identify the components of Haptics including reference signals, common Haptic signals, structure (places of articulation, hand shapes, movement, pressure), and mapping.
  4.  Explain how to prioritize visual and environmental information when using Haptics.
  5.  List the roles and responsibilities of both the person providing and the person receiving Haptics.
  6.  Modify use of Haptics to meet individual needs.
  7.  Provide and/or receive information regarding size, amount or intensity and direction using Haptic signals.
  8.  Provide and/or receive context and distinguish between similar signals using reference signals.
  9.  Provide and/or receive a description of various actions, rooms and people using Haptic signals.
  10.  Explain what is needed to be a successful communication team as a provider and/or receiver of Haptics.

Video: Welcome and Introduction

Show/Hide Transcript

Welcome and Introduction 

Maricar Marquez, M.S. 

Video Transcript 

Video image description: A closeup of a woman signing into the camera.  

Hello, I’m Maricar Marquez. We are thrilled to welcome you to the first ever online training series on Haptics. Haptics is a standardized and documented system for providing and/or receiving visual and environmental information, as well as social feedback via touch signals on the body. These signals are conveyed discreetly and in real time. Haptics began in Norway within the deaf-blind community. The community itself developed this system. The Helen Keller National Center began to collaborate with Hapti-Co, the company that introduced and has taught Haptic Communication worldwide. Our collaboration with Hapti-Co began in 2013. Using the book Hapti-Co had published in Norway, we worked together to adapt this book for an American audience taking into consideration our language and culture. 

(Title Slide) What will be covered in this course? 

Our course covers the history and beginnings of Haptics and how anyone can benefit from using Haptics. While this includes people who uses sign language to communicate, people who use spoken language will also benefit from using Haptics. This course covers the roles and responsibilities of both the provider and the receiver when using Haptics. You will learn the structure and rules associated with this system and learn the process of providing information and receiving information using Haptics. This course will introduce you to the signals associated with Haptics. You will learn how to use these signals to provide and receive information. 

(Title Slide) Course Format  

The format of this training is not exclusively lecture. Instead, we include a number of activities that are engaging and fun. Through these activities you will be able to apply the use of Haptics signals to your everyday life and be able to use them with another person. The course also includes demonstrations and video clips of people using Haptics signals. 

(Title Slide) Course Accessibility  

This training is intended to be accessible to all. The modules are conducted in American Sign Language with spoken English interpretation and are open captioned. There will also be a detailed visual description of each signal.  

(Title Slide) Who would benefit from this training?  

This course was designed for anyone and everyone. This includes deaf-blind individuals, and their families, friends and colleagues. This includes SSP and interpreters. Virtually, anyone who works or socializes with deaf-blind individuals will benefit from this course.  

We hope you enjoy this training. We hope this training will enrich the quality of life for deaf-blind individuals as well as benefit the people with whom they work and socialize by giving deaf-blind individuals access to information in their environment they would otherwise not have. Good luck and enjoy.  

ACVREP CE Hours: 17

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