Nordic Network on Tactile Language
When we put on our language glasses and give bodily tactile utterances a linguistic value, we can communicate with persons with congenital deafblindness at a linguistic level.”
(excerpt from the book If You Can See It, You Can Support It: A Book on Tactile Language)
Why do so few people with congenital deafblindness develop tactile sign language, despite being involved in social relationships and communication and exposed to sign/sign language and in some cases sign language in tactile form? In tactile sign language, signing is performed tactilely with the hands.
All people are born with different capabilities, but everyone has an instinct to communicate with their fellow human beings regardless of language and form of communication. This viewpoint is based on a dialogical perspective that assumes that all people want to share their feelings, thoughts and experiences with others. Providing the right conditions for people with congenital deafblindness to develop a language is a complex task.
Identify and understand tactile language
Nordic cooperation is necessary since the field of tactile language is too complex for each individual country to develop knowledge of alone. There is not enough expertise in each individual country, and the population is not large enough for national studies.
The purpose of the network is to identify key points in tactile language, so that we can gain a better understanding of how people with congenital deafblindness use tactile modality to express themselves.
As early as 2009, the Nordic Welfare Centre initiated collaboration in the Nordic countries on the topic of tactile language for people with congenital deafblindness. This collaboration led to the Nordic Network on Tactile Language being approved in 2014. The network consists of members from the different Nordic countries, with a special focus on understanding how tactile modality is used in communication by people with congenital deafblindness.
At the biannual Nordic meetings, the network shares experiences and examples to spread knowledge and jointly contribute to further development in the field.