Paths to Literacy

for students who are blind or visually impaired

Entering into the World of Tactile Interaction with the Child Who Is Deafblind: Introducing the new Deafblind Interaction website

How do we join the person who is deafblind in sharing their world, a world experienced through touch? How do we arouse curiosity? What is the path to bonding? Why must we recognize and affirm their communication before a formal language can be co-created? Have you ever considered how a person who is deafblind learns the concepts that people with vision and hearing learn incidentally…. from observation? 

The hands of two people engaged in tactile sign

The Deafblind Interaction microsite is designed to engage readers in the spirit of thoughtful inquiry, rather than bulleted lists of procedures.  It makes use of questions that prompt the user to think about the world of learners who are born with a combined vision and hearing loss. Located within the Texas Deafblind Project website, these pages are intended to provoke thought, reflection, and further inquiry among educators, families, and others interested in the development of individuals who are congenitally deafblind.  The microsite is not intended to be a  “how-to” guide for instruction.

The microsite explores some of the following:

  • experiencing the world through the sense of touch
  • investigating how to initiate interaction
  • sharing meaningful experiences
  • co-creating formal language with the learner who is deafblind 


The Deafblind Interaction microsite includes the following sections:

  • The Arc of Conversation
  • A Basis for a Common Language
  • Tactile Bodily Perspective
  • Reciprocal Interaction
  • Cultural Language of Congenitally Deafblind
  • Zone of Proximal Development
  • Dialogicality or Self-Talk
  • Meaning Making
  • Following the Gaze
  • From Interaction to Formal Language
  • Five Steps of Interaction
    • Notice
    • Affirm
    • Name It
    • Serve and return
    • Beginnings and endings
  • Stress and Resiliency
  • Tactile Memory
  • Bodily Emotional Traces
  • For a Deeper Dive


The site includes video commentary from experts in the field, including Jan van Dijk, Barbara Miles, Paul Hart, Gunnar Vege, and Bernadette van den Tillaart.  It also features numerous video clips of learners who are deafblind illustrating some of the concepts explored on the site.

Learn more about the site through an introductory webinar

We recently featured the Deafblind Interaction microsite in our TSBVI Coffee Hour series.  Watch the recording to learn more.

We invite you to visit the site

Collage of entering the world of tactile interaction
Posted on November 1, 2021
Updated on: November 2, 2021