Getting in the Zone: Revealing the Potential in All of Us
April 21, 2023
Dr. Paul Hart, Head of Operational Support, Practice Development and Quality for Sense Scotland
Dr. Paul Hart joined us to talk about being effective communication partners with our students who are deafblind. Paul emphasized that our starting point should be to presume that someone is trying to make a connection with us. By acknowledging that each person has the potential to be a communication partner, then we will notice the communicative attempts. We have a responsibility to be aware of and learn more from the communication partner who is deafblind.
Paul shared video clips and walked us through video analysis using the same clip three times. Each time we watched the video, we employed a different lens to observe and then describe the interaction between the Intervenor and student. This exercise helped us to see back-and-forth tactile interactions as communication.
When a child’s primary source of contact with the world is through touch, that is their first language. As seeing-hearing individuals, touch is not our first language in the same way as it is for our students with deafblindness. Paul encourages us engage in the tactile language that our students are already using. Together we can develop comprehension through interactions instead of imposing one language over another. The double-sided Zone of Proximal Development allows us to see all partners in an interaction as equally learning and contributing to it. As equal communication partners, we can reveal the hidden exceptional in all of us.