BRASIL SignWriting for the Deaf Blind

Valerie Sutton signwriting at MAC.COM
Fri Jul 7 19:46:38 UTC 2006

SignWriting List
July 7, 2006

Hello Dr. Lima!
Thank you for this interesting email. And welcome once again to our  

Dr. Lima wrote:
> I am currently researching on SignWriting. My effords, however, is  
> on making it tangible so that one can read it by touch. I know it  
> may sound crazy and perhaps it is, but I think many people will  
> benefit from it.

No. This does not sound crazy! Actually, this has been discussed  
before. At that time, people who worked with the Deaf-Blind told me  
that Blind people can read dots very quickly, like Braille for  
instance, because the dots are fast to read, but they suggested that  
feeling an outline of a more complicated photo or drawing, can be  
slower to raising SignWriting symbols up in 3D graphic,  
on a piece of paper, they discounted, at that time, saying it would  
be too difficult to read quickly...

But no one ever proved that...that was just a discussion... and I am  
interested to see if you disagree? I suspect you

> First, a blind or deafblind person will be able to comunicate with  
> a deaf person who writes on SignWriting. Second, blind researchers  
> like myself will be able to colaborate with science by offering his  
> or her knowledge on the matter.

Sounds excellent if this can be achieved!!

> Third, parents, relatives or friends of deaf people will be able to  
> teach the signwriting to these people, even if they are blind.


> I have researched blind representation of two dimensional patterns  
> and I think this knoledge can be put in the form of haptic  
> configuration of signwriting.

OK. This is where we need your expertise!

> Have you some knoledge of simillar work being done elsewhere? What  
> is your opinion on the matter?

I would love to try this. No. I know of no one doing this right now,  
but that does not mean it is not being tried. SignWriting is  
spreading fast, and research and development is happening with or  
without me! Isn't that great? That is the way it should be! So I  
don't know of every project...

In a private email message, I will send you the email addresses of  
several researchers in Brazil who are using SignWriting for their  
research and software development...Perhaps you can ask them if they  
know of any research on this subject...

> Can you send me articles or any other studies you may have on the  
> subject? I need them on eletronic format so I can read with a voice  
> synthetiser.

I understand that you are blind. So do you read this email through a  
voice synthesizer? Wow!!

I could put you in touch with some Deaf-Blind friends is  
partially Blind...and we could discuss it with him...

> Also, could you send me the alfabet  on signwriting and the  
> principles you have defined for teaching signwriting?

OK. Hmmm. That is a lot for you to learn.... Do you know Sign  
Language? Because Sign Language is so visual, our books and teaching  
tools are very visual too...some of our documents are almost all  
pictures or photos because Deaf people see their is  
like we are living in different worlds, I know, and the bridge  
between them is complex...Maybe you can help us build that  

To learn SignWriting, most people go to:

Lessons in SignWriting


They watch a video called Lessons in SignWriting, in American Sign  


I send them materials through the SignWriting Literacy Project...

Maybe I should mail you some of the materials through the postal  


They ask questions on how to read and write here on the SignWriting  


They contact the SignWriting users in their country and learn  
directly...I will send you a list of teachers in Brazil

> To have a good transcription on a haptic format, the signs need to  
> be in about 2 inches in diameter.

ok..that can be done..

> I have done some basic experiment and interesting as it may seem,  
> it was possible to comunicate a full sentence to a person with  
> reasonable knoledge on Libras, Brasillian Sign Language.

No kidding? Wow! You are way ahead of us!

> I hope to be able to exchange information with you or and other  
> researcher who might be interested in signwriting.

I would love that!

> I am a professor of inclusive education at the Universidade Federal  
> de Peernambuco, UFPE, in Brazil.My Phd was on sensory psychofisics  
> and my work includes research on haptic drawing by the blind and  
> other areas of mental representation on two-dimensional pictures.
> My area of interest also includes the theory of inclusion and the  
> education of people with disability as well. I current work with  
> non verbal autistic persons and people with Down Sindrome.

Very important work!

> As you can see, I am very much interested in your work, also  
> because it is one of the best tools I have seen for the inclusion  
> of people with hearing impairement.

How kind you are...and I am quite excited by this prospect...I will  
send you contacts privately and i hope you can post your findings to  
the List from time to time, to keep everyone informed...

We are actually a very active group, but lately we are all in need of  
a much happening all the time...and here in the north,  
we have summer...I know it is winter in beautiful Brazil!

> Preserve one's language is one of the most important and eficient  
> tool to preserve human's independence.

Yes. That is why SignWriting exists...I can see we are on the same

> That is my way of seeing the subject.

And that is the exactly the way we see it

> Hence, congratulation for your outstanding work and contribution  
> for humankind. Yes, contribution for humankind. And I mean it!
> Best regards,
> Dr. Francisco Lima

Thank you Dr. Lima, and we look forward to working with you!!

Have a wonderful relaxing weekend!

And all the best with your remarkable work too...I am really  
impressed and happy you wrote!

Val ;-)

Valerie Sutton
Sutton at

1. SignWriting
Read & Write Sign Languages

2. SignBank
Create Sign Language Databases

3. SignPuddle
Create Sign Language Dictionaries

4. SignText
Create Sign Language Documents

5. SignWriting List
Technical Support: Ask questions to the List

6. DanceWriting
Read & Write Dance Movement

7. MovementWriting
Read & Write All Body Movement

SignWriting Literacy Project
The DAC, Deaf Action Committee
Center For Sutton Movement Writing
an educational nonprofit organization
P.O. Box 517, La Jolla, CA, 92038, USA
tel 858-456-0098   fax 858-456-0020
D-Link Videophone:
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