Jelica (a female with shoulder length curly brown hair wears black sunglasses and a long sleeve black jacket with a silver zipper) sits in front of a dark grey background and signs into the camera.
Hello! My name is Jelica Nuccio. I am from Seattle, Washington. I am DeafBlind and proud to be! Many people have asked why I love PTASL, I would like to tell you why. I was born Deaf and used visual ASL, speechreading, and different forms of communication. When I became DeafBlind it had a huge impact on my language. Finding a communication mode that worked for me was difficult. I could sign but I couldn't see the other person signing. I couldn't lipread any longer. There were so many different types of communication modes that just weren't accessible. I didn't have full access and I couldn't make my own decisions or be involved in communication. I felt excluded. Language is the key to inclusion. We developed a language called ProTactile American Sign Language (PTASL). This language is based on touch. For example, if I am talking to someone and they sign grandmother or grandfather, as their story speeds up, the articulation becomes less clear, and I might become lost and unable to track what they are saying. I miss out on participation in this conversation. I miss that shared connection that language often brings. I might be able to pick up a word here or a concept there, but trying to piece together the whole story becomes difficult and I often feel like there is breakdown in communication.
With PTASL, tactually, I have access to all the information at my fingertips. This is equivalent to a hearing person having access to spoken language in English or French for example. Or a Deaf person having access to visual American Sign Language and all of its grammatical markers, and feeling excited to be part of that conversation. With PTASL, I have that same opportunity to be able to have access to be successful, to become more autonomous, and I can be more involved in a natural way. People have become more accustomed to touch as a way of accessing communication similar to spoken or visual language. Each modality requires the brain to process a little bit differently, and PTASL has become a language. #WhyISignPTASL
(Video transcript and description also available for download as an accessible Word document)