Coco’s Challenge I

Are you a risk taker?  Do you have high apathy? Do you really know how the Deaf Blind live, think, eat, communicate?

Then you should see what kind of challenge I have for you. Click on this and see if this easy, 5-minute challenge will open your mind a little more. Or rather, open your eyes.

Coco’s Challenge

July 4, 2007

I’ll be out of town this weekend. When I return, I want to see more than 40 comments here. I want to hear details. Stories, even.

I don’t really think a lot of people will do this. Not when history has proven over and over again.

Prove me wrong.

Tactile love,

Coco

Transcript done by Kate – many, many thanks!

TRANSCRIPT

Coco here. I have a challenge for you sighted people who have good vision – no eye disease, perfect 20/20 vision, or around that. It doesn’t really matter. Also the deafblind group – people with Usher’s Syndrome, full blindness, unclear vision, spots of vision, up-close vision – both groups are included in the challenge. Deaf blind who already know tactile sign, deafblind who don’t know tactile sign, sighted people who don’t know tactile sign, please get involved.

This is a challenge you can’t back out of. Once you commit to it you have to see ith through. Do it, okay? Ready? Are you ready for the challenge? Okay. It’s simple. Just five minutes, five little minutes of your time – that’s it, five minutes. Find a partner that can sign really well, get together with them and ask if they want to do the challenge. Go ahead and get two blindfolds, put them over your eyes, get close to each other, and TRY tactile signing. Tactile with sign language, ASL, for Americans, or BSL (British Sign Language), or GSL (German Sign Language), Hungarian [???]….ANY international sign language. Just sign language period. Take turns signing tactily.

If you don’t understand the signs, go ahead and fingerspell the alphabet. Slowly, patiently, take your time, don’t rush. Try to understand through touch. Take turns. Or you can do it in the dark without any light. That’s fine, it’s up to you. I challenge you because many many people see that I am an expert. “Coco, you are an expert! How?” they say. I just tell them that it only took me 2-3 weeks to learn the basics. It’s quite a challenge! Learn how to feel the alphabet plus signs. Now I can use one hand, but it used to be that I needed two hands to even struggle to figure out what was being signed. Like D-O-G, short, sits on the lap, and I still wouldn’t understand. They would sign again D-O-G, and by carefully feeling their fingers I was able to understand – dog. It was a struggle, but finally I could do it. Like YOU, now saying “But I don’t know tactile sign!” Just try.

It’s good for emergency situations too. What if the world’s electricity suddenly went out and the lights were out. Everything would be dark and you couldn’t wait until sunrise…everything’s dark. Where do you find the candles? How do you get by? You’d need a divverent mode of communication if you had no candles or light whatsoever. You need to communicate in such an emergency to know where to go. Think about it. You can talk and say “Coco, that sounds good, that challenge!” Go ahead and continue, or mock me. I can take it. Just do it right now, do it tonight, do it soon, and please let me know if you’ve done the challenge. Leave your stories in the comments on my blog. Come on! Good luck. Goodnight wherever you are around the world. Love ya!

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17 Responses to Coco’s Challenge I

  1. Jon Savage says:

    Hey Coco..

    Holly and I went on our vacation and stayed at timeshared condo in late of 199o’s. There were black out as worse that we don’t know if there do have flashlight or candles. So, we communicate through hands on fingerspelled. That was lot of work but great experience and we already appreciated with our two good friends are becoming deaf-blind.

    Next day, we found flashlight and candles but we start enjoy do that together in bed as romance in once a while. I would recommend couple people should have trying it. *winks*

  2. oscartheobserver says:

    I don’t mean to boast but… When I was forced to use tactile reading when I was young, it took me 5 minutes or so before I became proficient :D. Sorry :). However, I agree with your cool challenge! Good luck to others! Bring it on!

  3. AroundtheWorld says:

    Coco,
    Yeah, I have experienced with deaf blind friend from Gallaudet.. It was challenged for me.. My deaf blind friend told me about that, too.. So I did with my other friend in other night when was no light at all. We were stuck without light and we were trying to communicate through our hands on fingerspellend and it was challenged… It was awesome experienced we ever had and it was lots of work to communicate through with it.. whew!!

    Yeah, I recommend deaf people should have trying it… Challenge!!!!

  4. Mule4350 says:

    Hey Coco,

    I admire your good encourage as I know about some of DEAF-BLIND but I still want to learn more everything then I like to do with tactile reading with my friend on day and agree with u if happen in the world so I may use my hand on a person back for communicate. Keep going up and Keep positive things and Find a way to improve your things! Good Challenge!!!!!

  5. Jared Evans says:

    This is an experience that I think is unique and would like to try some day:

    Dans le Noir is a restaurant offering the visitor a dining experience in complete darkness.

    http://www.danslenoir.com/london/index.php

  6. Coco!

    Your challenge is even over the top and I find it very enthralling to arouse the thoughts and feelings out of the very people who give a try in tactile communication! I do that with my sighted hubby and friends even though where I live does not have very many DeafBlind folks. With my hubby Ward, I utilize tactile communication during the “us” moments after our 5 yrs old son goes to bed.

    Nevertheless, I realize that I need a DB fix from time to time via the unimaginable avenues such as VP, going to the Deaf events and bumping onto those whom I used to socialize and work with DB in the past (SSP’s, interpreters and so on).

    I had the first experience in using tactile communication after I came out of the closet with Usher Syndrome at age 22. The first person whom I used tactile communication was Art Roehrig when I was on my spring break visiting Gallaudet in 1990 — going to the Abbey and saw Art’s friend Kim Brown who was visiting from RIT, conversing with him. I met her a couple of days previously at NTID where my brother attended and I was enroute from Rochester to Gallaudet. Anyway, I approached Kim and she introduced me to Art. She encouraged me to use tactile communication with Art. I was hesitant but went ahead to converse tactilely with Art. The feeling was awkward so that was how Art sensed my tense hands and advised me to relax a bit. From there, we had a fabulous time chatting up a storm for a bit and my friends who watched us in awe.

    Then, I remember having an enormously fabulous time being a part of the AADB convention committee (the convention was at CSUN in 1993) and attended a tactile communication training workshop with 300 prospective SSPs prior to the convention! It was a hilarous experience seeing my own friends going through the tactile communication challenge — blindfolded and walking around with the “SSP’s”! I joined that challenge and loved it with every speck! Not only that, I had a tedious but rewarding experience using one-handed tactile communication (fingerspelling) with the AADB president Rod MacDonald — he was and is a darling teddy bear — when I met him via Sharon Carter during the AADB convention committee meetings and meals together prior to the actual convention!

    Oh, boy….I can write more and more stories out of that!!! You can see why I am craving for more DB fixes!!!!

  7. Davy says:

    Howdy Coco,

    My wife and I did that once a while to do tactile on bed time as don’t want to turn the light on to bother our eye open …..ouch! . True it tough to be commucation. I understand the blind and deaf people is harder life than anything around the world to do.
    You’re nice of you doing on C@@L Vlog to show it . Bravo I give you Five Star.

    Davy

  8. Hey!! I saw ur vlogs! you re looking good! I’ve tried tactile before, but not for 5 minutes! i d love to try that with a friend who signs and i ll let you know! 🙂

    have you seen my vlogs? i just started it like 2 months ago. 🙂 I made new one last night..

    KIT!

  9. LaRonda says:

    Great challenge! I accept. Will let you know how it goes. I like the thought of learning tactile signs for emergency situations. Maybe my hearing son and husband will be encouraged to learn it too for emergencies with me. Good motivator.

    ~ LaRonda

  10. Jana says:

    Coco,

    I attended several deaf blind workshops and we did practiced a bit but not at least 5 min. Ha. I can try it with my son sometime this weekend and get back with you.

  11. I do it all the times with my husband whenever we are outside in the dark or too lazy to turn on the lights in bedroom. It was difficult because some letters can be confused for other letters (s and a) and we found that we tried to simplify signs and make it more big and add emphasis to make sure one another KNOWS what that is because it is important to understand that to understand the whole conversation.
    When there is no full moon at nights, I am totally blind. My husband was surprised at this because there is a myth that blue eyes see better at nights (totally untrue for me!). I don’t wear eyeglasses or contracts, so it is a bit odd for me to be blind at nighttime. I cannot see my car or anything in the driveway (the porch light only shines to a certain distance) so usually my husband guides me and sometimes tactile-signs to me for example to ask me where my car keys are and to have it ready, or to watch out for a rock in the pathway.

  12. Sidekick User says:

    Nice challenge!! Other way you can do is when theres a power outages, simply switch your Sidekick on. It works for me to find my way out of those dark hallways. Its your instant “glow stick” In real emergency situations, you’ll need to evcauate the building immediately and nobody will have time to stand around trying to tactile sign. But it sure will come in handy for couples who are in “only lights off” bedroom situations. Know what I mean. ; )

  13. Kate says:

    Cool idea! Anyway, you said you were waiting for a volunteer to finish the transcript, so I thought “hey, wouldn’t it be good sign practice for me if I wrote out a transcript?” SO…here you are. I am a sign student, so, it is far from perfect but I did my best. (And if you feel like telling me my errors, that would be really cool….) Have a good weekend!

    TRANSCRIPT

    Coco here. I have a challenge for you sighted people who have good vision – no eye disease, perfect 20/20 vision, or around that. It doesn’t really matter. Also the deafblind group – people with Usher’s Syndrome, full blindness, unclear vision, spots of vision, up-close vision – both groups are included in the challenge. Deaf blind who already know tactile sign, deafblind who don’t know tactile sign, sighted people who don’t know tactile sign, please get involved.

    This is a challenge you can’t back out of. Once you commit to it you have to see ith through. Do it, okay? Ready? Are you ready for the challenge? Okay. It’s simple. Just five minutes, five little minutes of your time – that’s it, five minutes. Find a partner that can sign really well, get together with them and ask if they want to do the challenge. Go ahead and get two blindfolds, put them over your eyes, get close to each other, and TRY tactile signing. Tactile with sign language, ASL, for Americans, or BSL (British Sign Language), or GSL (German Sign Language), Hungarian [???]….ANY international sign language. Just sign language period. Take turns signing tactily.

    If you don’t understand the signs, go ahead and fingerspell the alphabet. Slowly, patiently, take your time, don’t rush. Try to understand through touch. Take turns. Or you can do it in the dark without any light. That’s fine, it’s up to you. I challenge you because many many people see that I am an expert. “Coco, you are an expert! How?” they say. I just tell them that it only took me 2-3 weeks to learn the basics. It’s quite a challenge! Learn how to feel the alphabet plus signs. Now I can use one hand, but it used to be that I needed two hands to even struggle to figure out what was being signed. Like D-O-G, short, sits on the lap, and I still wouldn’t understand. They would sign again D-O-G, and by carefully feeling their fingers I was able to understand – dog. It was a struggle, but finally I could do it. Like YOU, now saying “But I don’t know tactile sign!” Just try.

    It’s good for emergency situations too. What if the world’s electricity suddenly went out and the lights were out. Everything would be dark and you couldn’t wait until sunrise…everything’s dark. Where do you find the candles? How do you get by? You’d need a divverent mode of communication if you had no candles or light whatsoever. You need to communicate in such an emergency to know where to go. Think about it. You can talk and say “Coco, that sounds good, that challenge!” Go ahead and continue, or mock me. I can take it. Just do it right now, do it tonight, do it soon, and please let me know if you’ve done the challenge. Leave your stories in the comments on my blog. Come on! Good luck. Goodnight wherever you are around the world. Love ya!

  14. Lisa says:

    I had to do this experiment when I took a course in deafblindness from the University of New Mexico. It was enlightening for me and important for me as my daughter has CHARGE syndrome, with vision & hearing loss and I always wonder what things are like for her.

    I’m glad I found your blog!

  15. Lee says:

    Excellent post!

    I’ve done this kind of challenge back in early 90’s when I worked with a deaf-blind camper at a camp in New Hampshire. I was a volunteer for a two-week camp session. My duties were to guide him from one place to another and to tactile-interpret during all kinds of courses (arts and crafts, waterfront, survival, etc).

    One night, shortly before we went to bed… He challenged me to tactile in the dark. I took the challenge and tried to catch everything that he signed. Boy, it was HARD! However, I enjoyed the challenge and I learned a lot from him. He was not just a camper, he was also a wonderful teacher and a friend. 🙂

  16. Sara says:

    My hearing boyfriend and I do this maybe once a week at bedtime. We giggle a lot because we make a lot of mistakes; however we do understand how of a challenge that is! It is a good practice for us in case of emergency. The hardest part is the signing part. We do better in spelling part so we try not to spell so much and just use sign. 🙂

    Anymore challenges???? 🙂

  17. Stanelle says:

    I did the tactile fingerspelling every night after dark with my Deaf blind friend, Nellie Zimmerman, for six years,..the best six years of my life!! She was not much of a tactile signer as she fingerspelled almost EVERYTHING!! Boy,..oh boy!! Living with her improved my command of the English language…letter by letter!!

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