Tacpac (Touch and Communication Pac) is a sensory communication resource using touch and music to align the senses and develop communication skills. It helps those who have any kind of sensory impairment or communication difficulties. It can also help those who have tactile defensiveness, profound and multiple learning difficulties, autism, Down syndrome, and dementia.
Tacpac uses specially composed music that matches the texture of the object for each activity so that those who are receiving Tacpac have an aligned experience. Over time, users can employ this to help them communicate.
Tacpac comes in the form of a subscription which is accessed both on the website and also on the app for phones and tablets. The resources include the full music tracks, instruction videos for each activity, and downloadable/printable records that keep sheets and instruction sheets. The app enables users to play full music tracks without an internet connection.
Through repetition of activities in the Tacpac repertoire, a receiver learns to show responses that can be understood: e.g., those manifesting like/dislike; want/rejection; and know/nescient. Users can begin 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 toward more clearly defined intentional communication and even language acquisition.
As one researcher writes: "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. It has found support from the Royal National Institute of Blind People in the UK, and has growing followers amongst multi-sensory impairment networks.
- ^ Laura Pease (2000) 'Creating a communicating environment', in Teaching Children who are Deafblind: Contact, Communication and Learning, David Fulton Publishers, London
- ^ 'Let the fun begin! Communicating through touch the TACPAC way' by Anna Panter - Eye Contact 39 (RNIB journal), Summer 2004, pp. 31–34
- ^ Paper by Ximena Serpa of Colombia - Proceedings of the 7th Helen Keller Conference - October 2001
- ^ 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.