March 13-15, 2016 • San Diego, CA


3/15/2016  |   1:45 PM - 2:15 PM   |  Topical Session 6   |  Pacific Salon 2   |  3 - Language Acquisition and Development

TICtalk: Touch Initiated Communication for Children Who Are Deafblind

Children who are deafblind are cut off from what is happening around them. People and objects appear and disappear with no explanation. They are frequently pushed, pulled, and moved about without warning. Physical cues or prompts are sometimes used, but these are arbitrarily chosen, unique to the individual, and known only to a handful of people that are associated with that particular child. This leads to a lack of consistency and makes it even more difficult for the child to make the connection between the cue and the communicative intent behind it. Any change in personnel, such as teachers or caregivers, can be especially disruptive as a result. TICtalk is an easy-to-learn, easy-to-teach communication system that is based on primitive reflexes, natural gestures, touch cues, and body signs. Beginning as a simple, universal receptive set of communicative movements that can be implemented with even the youngest child, TICtalk is a dynamic system that smoothly transitions from receptive to expressive communication as the child is ready. It utilizes “concept groups” to provide a clear progression for building vocabulary and expanding language, laying the foundation for multiple modes of communication. In this hands-on training, participants will learn the basics of the system and receive certification as a level one trainer for TICtalk, enabling them to take this knowledge back to their communities to share with their families and colleagues.

  • Demonstrate the 12 basic movements used for Touch Initiated Communication
  • Identify the techniques used to transition the child from receptive to expressive communication
  • Apply this knowledge by training others to use the TICtalk system

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Jane Hankins (Primary Presenter,Co-Presenter), Monterey County Office of Education, Jhankins@monterey.k12.ca.us;
Jane Hankins is a teacher of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing in Monterey County, California. She specializes in working with children who are deafblind and with multiple disabilities. She received her Masters degree from California Lutheran University, and has a graduate certificate in Deafblindness from Northern Illinois University. She completed her practicum through the Helen Keller National Center. Jane has received four scholarships from the National Science Foundation and a grant from the Nation Institute of Health for creating original assistive technology devices for children and adults who are deafblind. She has given workshops throughout the country on topics related to deafblindness.


Financial - No relevant financial relationship exist.

Nonfinancial - No relevant nonfinancial relationship exist.

Deborah Homan Still (Co-Presenter), Monterey County Office of Education, dhoman@monterey.k12.ca.us;
Deborah Homan Still is an educational audiologist working with the Monterey County Office of Education. She has 25 years experience working directly with special needs students from birth through 22 years and as a collaborator within educational teams, to improve student outcomes. Ms. Still is a California licensed and credentialed Dispensing Audiologist. She received her master’s degree from San Jose State University.


Financial -

Nonfinancial -