Frequently Asked Questions

Tackpackers are curious people, and curious people ask questions! We have compiled a list of the most frequently asked questions. This is by no means comprehensive so please keep asking and we will endeavour to keep answering. A good question always deserves a good answer.

We recommend you have at least one weekly session using the same set of activities. Ideally the partners and environment will be the same as well.

Touch And Communication Pac

Tacpac is a sensory communication resource using music and touch. The giver intentionally communicates verbally and non verbally through the mediums of touch and music, taking the receiver on a physical, emotional and sensory journey through 6 activities in a safe and secure relationship during which communication takes place on many different levels.

All the objects have been chosen for their varying texture, easily accessible and inexpensive.

Most of the objects are simple household utility objects. Occasionally you will have to create an object using an old sock or pair of tights as in marbles.

Fundamentally we are looking for the receivers to feel special, have fun and relax! In addition we are looking for signs of communication. Please take a look at the pie chart devised by Sounds of Intent These signs of communication can only grow and become more definite and personalised as the weeks and months go by. Please do not be anxious to achieve or expect major differences at first, from the way the receiver normally communicates. This will come gradually. Relax, observe, enjoy this special time, and the results will come.

Take a look at our suggestions for record keeping that comes with every set. We have devised a simple observation sheet. It should be easier to keep observations by one and the same person at home, than it is at a school. You don’t have to keep a record of every session. First, sixth and twelfth would be interesting to do deep observations with, including videoing these sessions to compare and contrast.

Look at the set up video that comes with every set.
Make sure you have:

  •  all your equipment laid out for each pupil
  •  your speakers in a good position to hear the music
  •  your DO NOT DISTURB notice on your door
  •  pupils should have their shoes off, and where appropriate, as much skin exposed.
  •  Remember your towels if you’re using water, and your blankets for Relaxation track.

Partially sighted: Paint the extremities of the objects with fluorescent paint, and let the receiver touch and examine the objects before use. Let them use the same object or hold it while that activity is playing. Please feel free to contact Sue Murray in New Zealand who has been using Tacpac for years with her deaf / blind pupils.

Partially hearing: Use the resonance board to put your speakers on, so that the basic beat can be felt physically, and the melody and rhythm may or may not be felt. The touch will be associated with the beat.

We do not know exactly how each of us experiences a piece of music. Read a most interesting book called Musicophilia by Oliver Sacks.
There is a lot of research on how we each experience music. Spend a happy hour googling this fascinating subject. There are as many interpretations of one piece of music as there are people listening to it. There are no words to sway the receiver’s interpretation of this music, therefore their interpretation of the music will always be at their level of integration and understanding. This may alter and consolidate as they get used to using Tacpac. With nothing to sway their interpretation, and giving them total freedom to respond however they wish, the music is individualised, and made personal by each receiver, according to their own age and stage. We know that they are making sense of it when we see positive feedback from the session.

The Tacpac music is specifically composed to reflect the nature of the touch. Therefore to change the music negates the point of using Tacpac for means of communication.

It doesn’t matter which set you start with. It does matter that you a) know your receiver and b) know how to use Tacpac to its fullest benefit and c) know what signs to look for which indicate that the receiver has started using Tacpac as a means of communication on an interactive level. (Going on a Tacpac Training Day 1 would certainly help you get started. )
If you are still not sure where to start, begin with set 1. Its an easy set to apply all the ground rules.

Ideally we need 1 on 1. It is impossible to give your full attention and intention to more than one receiver at a time. We all know that sometimes this isn’t practical. If you have receivers who cannot have a giver on that day, and the receiver is able to be in the room and benefit from the atmosphere, the music and observing a session, then if they are just present in the room, this is a good compromise. The following session, rotate the one on one to the ones who missed out. If the receiver is unable to be in the room and listen and observe, perhaps you can split your group, and rotate them that way.

Prepare the room and the environment for uninterrupted time. Hang a sign on the door, take the phone off the hook and heat up the room if necessary. Get all your objects ready, plus your downloaded Tacpac set, plus blanket for activity no 6. If you are going to have a sign for an object of reference, prepare your receivers before hand, or use the sign for Tacpac which is a touch to the ear and a stroke on the cheek, or sign the letter T and then sign the letter P. Let there be a calm atmosphere while you are placing receivers on the mats, or with their keyworkers. Once the music begins, be alert to your receiver, as you are there specifically to communicate with that person. Whether you are alone in the room, or working in a group, your intention is the same – to be very observant and to have a sensory conversation with your partner.

Keep eye contact with your receiver. This is the time for deep communication. Be alert to all the signs of communication you are receiving from body language, facial expression, eye contact, sound, and empathise, mirror, improvise and be genuinely present for the time the silence lasts. It doesn’t have to be a serious time if you receiver would like to share a little joke or play a game which is subtle and immediate and exists between just the two of you.

The first session will be a new experience for both of you. Your receiver might be distant, or confused, or very very eager and impatient, and you might be hesitant, or at times lack attention. In one month you should have had at least 4 sessions. Each session should be an opportunity to learn more about each other. You are trying to focus on establishing trust so that your receiver will communicate with you. As the trust grows, so should the communication. You will also learn how to use the objects, what your receiver likes and doesn’t like, and grow more relaxed in your communications together. Remember you are BOTH learning about each other in an equal measure. In one month, your understanding of your receiver should have grown considerably.