Protactile Language: Creating Equity for DeafBlind Individuals

NOTE: October is Blind Awareness Month

Protactile Language Interpreting icon. National Education Program

By: Heather Holmes, Protactile Language Interpreting National Program co-director; CM Hall, Protactile Language Interpreting National Program co-director; and Kristen Rhinehart-Fernandez, Rehabilitation Services Administration project officer

The Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) is working to advance diversity, equity, inclusion, accessibility and systems change through its Training of Interpreters for Individuals Who are Hard of Hearing and Individuals Who are DeafBlind program.

In October 2021, RSA funded seven projects to provide training to working interpreters in specialty areas to develop a new skill area or enhance an existing skill area to effectively meet the communication needs of individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing and individuals who are DeafBlind receiving vocational rehabilitation services and/or services from other programs, such as independent living services, under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended.

One of the project’s funded is Western Oregon University’s Protactile Language Interpreting (PLI) National Education Program. The program trains sign language interpreters working with DeafBlind consumers who are using a new language, Protactile, in a variety of settings such as vocational rehabilitation, post-secondary education, professional and business-related events, and medical settings.

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What’s New at the National Instructional Materials Access Center

NOTE: October is Blindness Awareness Month

NIMAC Project Director, Nicole Gaines

NIMAC Project Director, Nicole Gaines

When typical textbooks don’t meet the needs of students with reading disabilities, visual impairments, or physical disabilities, the OSEP-funded National Instructional Materials Access Center (NIMAC) helps ensure that these students can obtain the accessible formats they need to engage and contribute alongside their peers.

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