A Language Without Sound or Visuals

According to Washington DC’s Gallaudet University, the US has between 45,000 and 50,000 DeafBlind people—those who can neither see nor hear. Until recently, fingerspelling and braille were the primary means of communication but limited person-to-person interaction. Over the last few years, however, a new communication system has grown organically, based around American Sign Language (ASL). Known as pro-tactile ASL, elements from standard sign language have been modified so that they interact directly with the receiver’s hands and body. This touch-based language can convey more than words, but also concepts and tone. And while complex, it’s no more so than learning any other language. As the language advances, more and more people might just be able to open their world further. Learn more at Quartz.