Introduction to DeafBlind Culture and Communication

More than 460,000 Canadians belong to the DeafBlind community. While many of these community members use American Sign Language (ASL) to communicate, there is an increasing prioritization of touch-based communication to better suit the community’s needs. Learning how to incorporate touch as a core linguistic and cultural feature is a key step in getting to know and understand the DeafBlind community.   

In this course, learn how to approach and communicate effectively with DeafBlind community members. Develop a basic understanding and comfort with ProTactile ASL, a form of American Sign Language that uses touch to expand upon environmental information in communication. Learn to work closely with Blind or DeafBlind individuals while simultaneously supporting their autonomy.   

An ASL-English interpreter is present for the duration of the course, and lessons are delivered through presentations, interactive role-play, class discussions, written reflections and video content.   
This introductory course is perfect for ASL-English interpreters, members of the Deaf community, interpreting students, CODA and members of the hearing community with basic ASL skills interested in getting to know or work with the DeafBlind community. 
This course does not provide intervener training, though it can be used to see if intervener training would be a good fit.  Participants should be aware that a certain amount of physical contact is a key component of this course. Prior completion of Signing Naturally 1-6 or equivalent ASL skill level is required. 

How Am I Assessed? 
This is a non-credit course without letter or numerical grades. You receive feedback on your cultural and linguistic knowledge from your instructor during class, and on homework you complete outside of class. A key component of the course is getting comfortable with touch as a core component of communication.  Research projects deepen awareness of the DeafBlind community and their needs and interests. 

Expected Effort 
Outside of class time, you should allow one to two hours per week to review content, complete homework, watch videos, and prepare presentations. 

Technology Requirements 
To take this course, you’ll need access to: 

  • an email account 
  • a computer, laptop or tablet under five years old and using Windows or Mac OS 
  • the latest version of a web browser (or previous major version release) 
  • a reliable internet connection 
  • a video camera 

One day before the start of your course, we’ll email you step-by-step instructions for accessing the online portion of your course. You’ll also receive instructions on where to find your classroom at UBC Robson Square.   

There are no textbooks required for this course.  The instructor provides learning materials. 

Course Format

This course is offered in-person at UBC Robson Square.  The course is taught in a combination of ASL, ProTactile ASL and using ASL-English interpretation.   

Outside of class time, you can access other materials online at your own pace. Please note you can log in to your course for up to three weeks after the course ends. You’ll no longer be able to access course materials after this time.

Available Sessions

Course currently not available for registration.