Friday, July 29, 2011

Tactile interpersonal communication framework

clip art: Clker
Interpersonal physical contact in public in many cultures among "normal" people is by varying degrees prohibited. Licensed professionals such as speech or massage therapists--or athletes, are a different matter, of course. Here is a list of suggestions for using touch extensively in working with deafblind children. Given recent blog posts relating to the metaphorical and neurophysiological relatedness of touch and sound, it is not too difficult to "visualize the felt sense" of doing many aspects of the EHIEP system in pairs, where the haptic anchoring would be accomplished by touching the hand or arm of another person, rather than your own.

I have over the years used discrete amounts of touch in that manner with students in class. Culturally, my role of instructor in that public setting gives me a bit more license to do that. Actual student-student contact, however, is another question entirely. However, looking at the range of techniques in the deafblind guide, it obvious that using conventions of public dance or professional tactile behavior, for example, a handshake,  it should be quite possible to develop interpersonal touch techniques (on prominent words, for example) to greatly enhance both the effectiveness of anchoring (and subsequent recall) and expressiveness. Yet another example of the deafblind leading the sighted!

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