The purposes of this study are:
- To present the deaf-cerebral palsied population with a more functional means of communication.
- To test the validity of using a non-vocal means of communication, Blissymbolics, when other more traditional methods of teaching communication skills (sign language or verbal communication) have been ineffective.
Blissymbolics has been found to be an effective means of communication with cerebral palsy children who are unable to develop verbal communication skills. However, there is no research in the use of Blissymbolics with the deaf-cerebral palsy population.
The traditional means of communication used with the nonspeaking deaf person (manual sign language) requires well developed fine motor skills. The traditional method for speech habitation of cerebral palsy children is to modify aberrant neuromuscular patterns in hopes of developing intelligible speech. Too often, hearing impaired, physically handicapped children are unable to master either form of expressive communication.
Each subject involved in this study had been exposed to an academic program involving readiness and reading skills for one and one half to three years prior to this investigator's intervention. None of the subjects had been able to develop adequate readiness or reading skills to utilize an alphabet or word communication board.
In the present study, three hearing impaired, non-vocal severely physically handicapped subjects, ranging in age from seven to twelve years, were provided with an eight-week program of training in Blissymbols. Data were collected to determine whether the subjects were able to utilize Blissymbols as an augmentative communication system to significantly enhance their expressive communication abilities.
Results of this study indicated that:
- Although statistical significance was not revealed, two of the subjects' raw scores indicated utilization of longer sentences with their Blissymbol communication boards versus communication utilizing manual sign language. This was evidenced by comparing mean sentence length scores from the post-intervention expressive language tests obtained via manual sign language and Blissymbol communication board.
- In a comparison of post-intervention imitation language test scores obtained via manual sign language and Blissymbol communication boards, two of the subjects' raw scores indicated significantly better performances when using Blissymbol communication boards. However, statistical analysis did not reveal significance at the predetermined level of confidence.
- Two of the three deaf-cerebral palsy students developed sentences with greater grammatical complexity when using their Blissymbol communication board versus manual sign language as evidenced by: (a) comparison of the five component areas (nouns, verbs, objects, prepositions and adjectives) of the post-intervention expressive language test scores obtained via attempted, although not easily interpreted, manual sign language versus Blissymbol communication boards. The subjects showed significantly better scores in three of the five component areas (nouns, objects and prepositions) when using their Blissymbol communication boards. Analysis of data revealed significance at the .10 level. (b) comparison of the five component areas (nouns, verbs, objects, prepositions and adjectives) of the post-intervention expressive language test scores obtained via readable manual signs, which were easily interpreted, versus Blissymbol communication boards. The subjects showed significantly better scores in three of the five component areas (nouns, objects and prepositions) when using their Blissymbol communication boards. Analysis of data revealed significance at the .05 level.
- Two of the three deaf-cerebral palsy students developed and were able to utilize a larger number of Blissymbols versus manual signs as an augmentative mode of expressive communication when motoric involvement limits their ability to verbalize or use manual sign language. This was indicated by comparing the total number of manual signs versus Blissymbol responses obtained on the post-intervention expressive language test. The subjects showed significantly better scores in their total frequency count of Blissymbols. Analysis of data revealed significance at the .01 level.
It is therefore evidenced by the statistical data presented that:
- Blissymbolics significantly enhance expressive communication abilities for some deaf-cerebral palsy students.
- Blissymbols aid in the development of a functional means of communication for some deaf-cerebral palsy students.
Melvin S. Cohen
Karen L. Jones
Cassandra E. Bailey
Master of Arts (MA)
Year Degree Awarded
Date (Title Page)
Library of Congress/MESH Subject Headings
Self-Help Devices; Cerebral Palsy; Deafness; Communication
Loma Linda University Libraries
This title appears here courtesy of the author, who has granted Loma Linda University a limited, non-exclusive right to make this publication available to the public. The author retains all other copyrights.
Howells, Linda, "Evaluation of Blissymbolics as a Means of Communication for the Deaf-cerebral Palsy Population" (1981). Loma Linda University Electronic Theses, Dissertations & Projects. 1094.
Loma Linda University Electronic Theses and Dissertations
Loma Linda University. Del E. Webb Memorial Library. University Archives