John D. Bonvillian; Nicole Kissane Lee; Tracy T. Dooley; Filip T. Loncke

Published On


Page Range

pp. 1-30

Print Length

29 pages

1. Introduction

  • John D. Bonvillian (author)
  • Nicole Kissane Lee (author)
  • Tracy T. Dooley (author)
  • Filip T. Loncke (author)
Chapter 1 provides an introduction to the language and communication needs of various individuals who have difficulty expressing themselves either through speech and/or by using one of the full and genuine sign languages of Deaf people. The authors propose the integration of the Simplified Sign System, a manual sign-communication system that is comprised of iconic and easily formed signs, into the environments of persons with various communication difficulties, including individuals with autism, aphasia, intellectual disability, or cerebral palsy. Various misconceptions about sign training are tackled and countered by information highlighting the benefits of sign usage for many different people. The authors then present the principles on which their sign system is based, including iconicity, ease of production, the relatively broad conceptual base of many signs, the standardization of the signs, and the provision of a core vocabulary. These principles also make them easier to learn and remember by other potential users of the system, including international travellers, parents adopting children from other countries, elderly persons who have developed hearing impairments, foreign language instructors, and students learning an additional spoken language.


John D. Bonvillian


Nicole Kissane Lee


Tracy T. Dooley


Filip T. Loncke