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Tacpac is a multi-sensory process created in 1995 that can be used to promote communication and movement through touch and music. Designed as a process for young children with sensory impairment (e.g. deafblindness[clarification needed]), and developmental delay, researchers, parents and practitioners have found that it can be used across a wide range of ages, through adolescence, middle age, and even in geriatric care.

The Tacpac process is based on the idea of tactile play, using the skin, the largest sensory organ in the body, as a primary means of contact. By varying the type of touch (regular/irregular, continuous/intermittent, textures, warm/cool, etc.), the helper provides a range of stimuli that heighten the receiver's levels of awareness and arousal and promote responses. Each touch stimulus is accompanied by a short, specially composed piece of music designed to match it in mood and enhance the experience.

Through repetition of activities in the Tacpac repertoire, the receiver learns to show responses that can be understood as, for example, like, dislike, want, reject, known, unknown; and begins to move in response to stimuli, anticipate activities, and relate to the helper. These primal responses that comprise pre-intentional and affective communication can be crucial steps towards more clearly defined intentional communication and even language acquisition.

As one researcher writes[1]: "One of the most effective ways of establishing contact with deafblind children and so encouraging a communicative response is to share activities with a high levels of physical contact and pleasant sensations. These include [...] Tacpac a package where taped music is linked to a range of tactile sensations."

The number of research projects around Tacpac is growing[2] [3] [4]. It has found support from Royal National Institute of Blind People in the UK, and Sense, and has growing followers amongst multi-sensory impairment networks.

Hilary Wainer, one of the creators of the Tacpac process, continues to develop new applications and processes around the process, including: communication to and from, and boosting the morale of the child and parent.


  1. ^ Laura Pease (2000) 'Creating a communicating environment', in Teaching Children who are Deafblind: Contact, Communication and Learning, David Fulton Publishers, London
  2. ^ 'Let the fun begin! Communicating through touch the TACPAC way' by Anna Panter - Eye Contact 39 (RNIB journal), Summer 2004, pp. 31–34
  3. ^ Paper by Ximena Serpa of Colombia - Proceedings of the 7th Helen Keller Conference - October 2001
  4. ^ SPEVI Biennial Conference, Perth (South Pacific Educators for Visual Impairment) - 'Tacpac - a tactile approach to communication through touch' by Sue Murray and Rosemarie Ells (New Zealand), and Hilary Wainer (Oxford) - research paper on Tacpac including perspectives of parents, speech and language therapists, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, and music therapists.

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