7/02/23 - Laura Volpato (Ca' Foscari University of Venice)

Laura Volpato is a PhD candidate at Ca' Foscari University of Venice.

Abstract: Social-haptic communication reaches Italy
Creating, spreading, and testing the integration of social-haptic communication in the interaction amongst deafblind and non-deafblind people in Italy

Social-haptic communication (SHC) is a communication method consisting of brief tactile messages performed on the body of the deafblind person to convey environmental information and the emotional feedback of the interlocutor. SHC originated in Northern Europe as the result of negotiations between deafblind individuals and their communication partners. In Scandinavia SHC is part of the training for deafblind interpreters.

The Erasmus+ project Social Haptic Signs for Deaf and Blind in Education collected the haptices used in Estonia, Italy, Portugal, and Sweden to make them available through video-recordings, pictures, and descriptions. The project also represented an opportunity to develop new haptices in countries where none or only a few haptices existed before.

The process of negotiation in Italy involved 9 deafblind individuals from the North of Italy, with various degrees of residual hearing/sight and using different communication methods. A first test of the haptices was conducted during deafblind summer holidays in July-August 2022. A selection of haptices was presented to a group of deafblind individuals and their communication partners, all new to SHC. It was observed that, during one week of group activities, haptices were consistently used by most of the participants, especially when related to guiding and mobility (e.g., directions), meals (e.g., the waiter is coming), and feedback (e.g., yes/no). Participants showed a positive reaction towards SHC, as an opportunity to increase autonomy and participation. Further investigation will monitor the future integration of SHC in deafblind interpreting practice.

The seminar is hosted on Zoom. The talk will be from 12:00 to 13:00 and is preceded by our weekly sign lunch at HVL from 11:15 to 12:00. Languages: English, IS.

To receive the Zoom link to connect, please send an email to Ari Price (jupr@hvl.no) to be added to the mailing list.