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Project SALUTE

Successful Adaptations for Learning to Use Touch Effectively

Project SALUTE (Successful Adaptations for Learning to Use Touch Effectively) was a model demonstration project funded by the U.S. Department of Education to California State University, Northridge from September 1, 1999 to August 30, 2004. 

Multiple methods were used to identify and evaluate tactile strategies including:

  • An extensive review of available literature
  • Interviews with focus groups composed of English-speaking and Spanish-speaking family members and service providers, including those who are sighted and blind or visually impaired
  • Annual meetings and online discussions with a national advisory committee of experts in the fields of visual impairments, severe disabilities, and deafblindness who represented family members, service providers, and state and national technical assistance projects
  • Input from participants at project workshops and state and national conferences
  • Analysis of video observations of four target children who are deafblind during home and school routines
  • Interviews with family members and teams of service providers of the four target children who are deafblind
  • Reflections on professional experience and practice by project staff

Based on findings from these activities, the project produced numerous information sheets and articles, and a book on tactile learning strategies for children who are deafblind or blind with additional disabilities. These resources have been widely used and appreciated by professionals and families of children who are deafblind for many years. They were originally housed on the Project SALUTE website, which ended in December 2020. The materials are now housed here on the NCDB website with the permission of Deborah Chen, Ph.D., who along with June Downing, Ph.D., was one of the project's co-directors.

Brief Information Sheets

The purpose of these information sheets is to provide practical information on tactile strategies for families and service providers of children who are deafblind. The content reflects an extensive review of the literature, the expertise of the researchers who worked on Project SALUTE, and input from a national advisory committee, families, and service providers. On the original Project SALUTE website, these were web pages. NCDB has downloaded them as PDF documents.

Coactive Signing EnglishSpanish

Communication Symbols English | Spanish

Emergent Literacy for Children who are Deaf-Blind English | Spanish

Mutual Tactile Attention English | Spanish

Object Cue English | Spanish

Selected Definitions English | Spanish

Sign on Body English | Spanish

Tactile Communication Strategies English | Spanish

Tactile Modeling English | Spanish

Tactile Signing English | Spanish

Tangible Symbols English | Spanish

Textured Symbols English | Spanish

Touch Cue English | Spanish

Family and Service Provider Perspectives

Project SALUTE featured five articles on their website written by family members and service providers about the tactile learning experiences of children with deafblindness. Three were written by mothers of children with deafblindness, one by an occupational therapist, and one by a teacher of students with visual impairments.

Additional Project SALUTE Publications


Chen, D., Downing, J., & Rodriguez-Gil, G. (2001). Tactile strategies for children who are deaf-blind: Considerations and concerns from Project SALUTE. Deaf-Blind Perspectives, 8(2), 1-6.

Downing J., & Chen, D. (2003). Tactile strategies: Interacting with students who are blind and have severe disabilities. TEACHING Exceptional Children, 36(2), 56-61. Free download of this article courtesy of Council for Exceptional Children/Online Journals. Copyright © 2003 by The Council for Exceptional Children.


Chen, D., & Downing, J. (2006). Tactile strategies for children who have visual impairments and multiple disabilities: Promoting communication and learning skills. AFB Press.