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College of Education at Western Oregon University

Hey everyone, check out the ECI Summer Institute trailer that was put together from this year's events: www.youtube.com/watch?v=A4Wgg-kkzrA ... See MoreSee Less

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Western Oregon University to Host
First-Ever National Training in Emerging Sign Language

MONMOUTH, Ore. – From Aug. 6-11, Western Oregon University will be the site of a pioneering training session in the language of pro-tactile American Sign Language (PTASL), an evolving method for communicating with people who are both Deaf and blind.

While traditional American Sign Language is a visual language, PTASL, created in the early 2000s, is done completely by touch between communicators. The week-long institute at WOU will bring together seven nationally renowned DeafBlind individuals who are experts in PTASL and 37 professional ASL interpreters from throughout the United States. Interpreters will learn from the DeafBlind trainers, then return to their home communities to work with DeafBlind individuals and share their new skills.

“This is an exciting opportunity,” said CM Hall, co-director of WOU’s DeafBlind Interpreting National Training & Resource Center. “The expectation is to maintain a fully immersive ASL and PTASL environment for all professional and social interaction. The interpreters selected to attend have been studying for months and now have the opportunity to apply their skills and learn literally first hand.”

In 2017, WOU was awarded a five-year, multimillion dollar federal grant through the Rehabilitation Services Administration to train ASL interpreters in PTASL. Hall said WOU won the grant, in part, because of the university’s leadership in research and effective interpreter education. WOU also has built relationships with leaders in the national DeafBlind community and movement, she explained.

The group of trainers and interpreters will spend most of the week on the WOU campus in Monmouth but has a day at the beach planned for Wednesday, Aug. 8. During that outing to Newport, the group will walk the waterfront, where interpreters will describe the visual environment and practice PTASL skills, such as finding opportunities for tactile exploration.

To learn about PTASL and see it in practice, visit www.youtube.com/watch?v=9GrK3P15TYUThis man is speaking a brand new language. You can’t see or hear it—it’s communicated through touch. For a visual description and transcript, click here: htt...
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