Image description: Lesley and Roberto are two Protactile educators seated facing each other, with their hands on each other's hands rested on Roberto's thigh. Both Lesley and Roberto are wearing sunglasses and dark shirts inside with a desk and wood paneling behind them.
The Protactile Language Theory certificate is an online, sequenced, asynchronous module series focused on Protactile Language and interpreting.
Protactile Language Theory - Online Certificate Program

Worth up to 1.6 CEUs
Worth 1.6 CRC CE Units

Program Description: 
Protactile Language Interpreting National Education Program (PLI) presents a self-directed course of study in Protactile Language Theory. This online certificate program consists of 16 hours of online content, assignments, and assessment, focused on co-navigation, Protactile language, co-presence, Protactile literature, and the Protactile numbering systems and alphabet.  

Protactile (PT) is a language that cannot be learned through visual or auditory channels. To fully acquire PT, the speaker and the listener must be in physical contact with one another. Because of this, the PLI program of study primarily focuses on the theory of Protactile, and completion of this program does not indicate language proficiency.

It is PLI’s strong recommendation that this program of study be paired with real-world experiences in the DeafBlind community, learning from and working with Protactile Language speakers. This certificate program does not replace the need for in-person language acquisition opportunities, but is meant to be a supplement and support in the language learning process. 

Below are more specifics about this self-directed learning track. If you have any questions, please contact us at [email protected].
Our Protactile Language Theory online certificate is open for registration for a limited time.

  • Program Details? This certificate program is a sequenced series of 13 self-directed online modules of varying lengths. These modules are meant to be taken in order and require the user to pass an assessment at the end of each module before moving on to the next content. If the user does not pass the assessment, they will be required to retake the module before moving on to the next module. Participants will go through the program as a cohort and have the opportunity to engage with colleagues in module-specific discussion boards.

  • Please note: Successful completion of this Theory Certificate includes completion of the 13 modules in order. Participants may have previously completed one or more of the modules listed below. If you have earned credit for any of these 4 modules during your current RID cycle, you are ineligible to earn CEUs for this activity again, but the expectation is that you will review the module as a refresher in sequence:
  • The Protactile Movement
  • The Seven Principles of Protactile Language 
  • Understanding Accessible Technologies 
  • Protactile Linguistics: Discussing Recent Findings

  • What are the modules?
  • The Protactile Movement
  • The Seven Principles of Protactile Language
  • Communication Modalities and Accommodations
  • Understanding Accessible Technologies 
  • Co-Presence
  • Support Service Provider (SSP) vs. Co-Navigator (CN): A Paradigm Shift
  • Co-Navigation: Applied Practice
  • The Evolution of Protactile Language
  • Evolving Principles of Protactile
  • Protactile Linguistics: Discussing Recent Findings
  • Prompt, Adopt, Touch (PAT)
  • Protactile Alphabet and Numbering Systems
  • Protactile Literature

  • Who should enroll in this certificate program? Interpreters, VR Professionals, Interpreter Educators, Students, Family, Friends, & Professionals working with DeafBlind individuals.         

  • Where? Online, via PLI Moodle.

  • When? Registration for this program is open now until November15th. The certificate program will conclude by February 15th, 2024.

  • PLI Module Presenters: Jelica Nuccio, Roberto Cabrera, John Lee Clark, Jaz Herbers, Hayley Broadway, Lesley Silva-Kopec, aj granda, Cristina Hartmann, Rhonda Voight-Campbell, Chris Woodfill, Tracy Gilbert-Dallow, Maricar Marquez, Bryan Ward, Scott Davert, Mark Armstrong, and Anindya (Bapin) Bhattacharyya.

  • How much does it cost? It's free!

  • RID CEUs/ACET: This online certificate program is offered for up to 1.6 CEUs in the categories of Professional Studies, General Studies, as well as the Power, Privilege, and Oppression designation. CEUs are processed by the Protactile Language Interpreting National Education Program, an approved RID CMP and ACET sponsor for continuing education opportunities.

  • Content Knowledge Level: Little/None. This level assumes the participant has little to no familiarity with the evolving literature and professional practice related to Protactile Language and interpreting. The general focus of the modules is to increase the knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors of the participant.

  • CRC CEs: Up to 1.6 CRC CE Units.

  • How CEUs Work: All PLI modules range in value and are worth 0.1 to 0.25 CEUs/ACET. in the category of General or Professional Studies. Total CEUs: 1.5 PS (of which 0.4 are also Power, Privilege, and Oppression), and 0.1 are GS. In order to receive CEUs, you will be required to complete the 13 components in order and sequence as well as the assessments after each module. Upon completion of each module's post-test, an automatic certificate of completion will be generated and sent to the participant. That will serve as documentation until CEUs are processed. CEUs will be submitted to RID quarterly. Please hold any questions about CEUs until after the end of the quarter. The quarters PLI follows are January-March, April-June, July-September, October-December. 

  • Non-Discrimination Policy: PLI does not discriminate in any way and actively promotes mutually-respectful engagement, safety and equity.

  • Accessibility & Accommodations: If you need accommodations for accessing these materials, please contact us at [email protected].

  • Cancellation Policy: This certificate program is free, self-directed, and available on-demand at any time. This certificate program concludes February 15th, 2024.

  • To register: click to the form

  • For more information: visit our website

By completing PLI's online certificate program, participants will:
  • Contrast linguistic differences between Protactile Language and visual ASL.
  • Define the role of a co-navigator and provide examples of co-presence.
  • Identify the four articulators of Protactile Language.
  • Identify several differences between the Support Service Provider model and the Co-Navigator model.

Other module-specific educational objectives can be found on the website.
Among many others, PLI holds these core values as it conducts its work:

Autonomy: We are committed to supporting the autonomy of DeafBlind individuals and those with a combination of vision and hearing loss.

Integrity: We value the integrity of our relationship with the DeafBlind community through the life of the grant and beyond.

Collaboration: We recognize the key to creating change is engaging in active collaboration with our mentors, community partners, stakeholders and service providers.

Equity: We strive to demonstrate our commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion through outreach and partnership with diverse stakeholders who encourage, challenge, and deepen our commitment to working with marginalized populations and to improve standards in interpreting.

Humanity: We work to honor our collective humanity and respect the DeafBlind community’s experiences and culture.

Results: We believe in the strength of evidence-based practices and that without evaluation, effectiveness and impact cannot be measured or assumed.

Trust: We believe that Protactile language is distinct and unique from American Sign Language and we are honored to be entrusted by the DeafBlind community and RSA to carry out this important work and take this responsibility very seriously.

Stewardship: We recognize the fiscal and programmatic responsibility given to us by our funders and are committed to ethical and responsible practices in all we do.

The Protactile Language Interpreting National Education Program (PLI) is part of the Research and Resource Center with Deaf communities ​at Western Oregon University. PLI’s educator team consists of DeafBlind individuals who are involved in Protactile Language research, education, and training, and are considered native language models.

PLI strives to be a culturally-responsive program. We acknowledge that our work happens within systems that often perpetuate discrimination based on race, gender, and disability. We affirm the need for ongoing self-reflection and analysis as a project and as individuals who are doing this work. Systems of inequity will not be dismantled on their own, but instead through purposeful planning and action. To that end, PLI is committed to continuous improvement and welcomes feedback related to your experience.
The contents of this communication were developed under a grant that began on October 1, 2021 and will continue through September 30, 2026. PLI is a project under the Research and Resource Center with Deaf Communities at Western Oregon University and is made possible through a grant from the US Department of Education, Rehabilitation Services Administration, H160D210002; Training of Interpreters for Individuals Who Are Deaf or Hard of Hearing and Individuals Who Are DeafBlind program: Interpreter Training in Specialty Areas. The contents do not necessarily represent the policy of the Department of Education and you should not assume endorsement by the Federal government.