Workshops Information

1.  SSA and meeting info below


2.  May 3 Haptics Mapping

Haptics Presenters

Rene’ and Rachel

Participants will learn how to provide visual input, conveying it through touch.
These skills are instrumental in working with or socializing with DeafBlind persons. They are supplemental to Tactile American Sign Language (TASL) and are crucial in providing real time feedback on the environmental set up of and happenings in the DeafBlind person’s immediate surroundings. Attendees will learn through doing.
Come ready to observe, produce and practice Haptics mapping skills.

View Video introduction:  What is Haptics?


Presenter’s Bios:


René was born in Quebec, Canada. He grew up in Vermont, graduating from Austine School for the Deaf and later attending Gallaudet University.  He, his brother and two aunts and an uncle have Usher Syndrome.

His work life has included being the Acting Director of DEAF, Inc. in Allston, Massachusetts, and nearly 20 years at VocRehab-Vermont, most of which was as Vermont’s State Coordinator for the Deaf (SCD). René’s last four years of work were as the Coordinator for Northern Vermont for Vermont Center for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. René was instrumental in the passage of laws supportive of the Deaf community and Vermont interpreters.

He has been married to an interpreter, Joan, for 34 years. They have six adult children including two adopted daughters and one seven year old grandson. René lives in a small town in Vermont surrounded by the Green Mountains!

Long recognized by his Deaf peers as a sought after storyteller, Rene expanded his repertoire in recent years to chronicle DeafBlind life, “learning through Laughter”, as René The Unstoppable. He has also taught numerous workshops on being DeafBlind, Usher Syndrome and on Haptics. Additionally, he is a weekly contributor to Deaf Digest.


Rachel grew up in upstate New York and attended Model Secondary School for the Deaf. And soon after that went on to earn her Bachelors degree at Gallaudet University.

She now resides in Vermont with her two girls and enjoys snowshoeing, doodling, and being an advocate for the Deaf community.

Rachel worked in sign language education in Vermont for 6 years. She recently earned her RID Deaf Interpreter Certification, making her 1 of 3 Deaf people to have this certification in the state of Vermont. She works with Deaf Vermonters hoping to provide communication that is more accessible.

Rachel seeks to be a strong advocate in the Deaf and DeafBlind community by having completed the Helen Keller National Center DeafBlind Interpreting Training Program, providing Support Services Provider (SSP) Training to Interpreter Training Programs (EKU, OCC, VR), and providing workshops on Haptics across the nation. One of her most recent endeavors has been to study the latest European research on evolving techniques, cognition studies and adaptive interpreting hoping her findings will shed more light on how using Haptics as a supplementary interpreting tool can enhance information acquisition for DeafBlind tactical users.