Who are the users of Bliss

The number of persons currently using Blissymbols has been very difficult to determine. The system is used with persons with severe speech and physical impairments (SSPI) in over 33 countries and Blissymbol materials have been translated into more than 15 languages. The peak of Blissymbol training occurred in 1982 and at that time, a total of 8,000 instructors had attended workshops worldwide. Each of those instructors would have interacted with a number of students, but as well, the individual Blissymbol user would have benefited from the instruction of several instructors.

There is no single definitive study providing statistics regarding the incidence of individuals needing alternative forms of communication due to a severe speech impairment. Until such a study is undertaken, we can only reference several demographic studies conducted in various regions over the past twenty years. The results of these studies would indicate that the incidence of individuals who have required native communication lies between .15% and .60% of the total school population. Of this group, it has been estimated from a study involving individuals with SSPI in Ontario, that 41% of those using communication boards have used Blissymbols. Some of these individuals will have moved to the use of spelling and word systems.

Currently Blissymbolics is most widely used in AAC in Sweden, Norway and Finland in Scandinavia, and to a varying degree in other European countries, such as Belgium, Spain, and Italy. In Sweden, around 2-300 persons yearly are attending Bliss instructional cources, primarily arranged by SPSM (the Swedish Agency for Special Needs Education and Schools).

Blissymbolics is gaining re-newed interest in several Eastern European countries and in Russia. Bliss is taught and used in several other countries around the world, such as Brazil, South Africa, Egypt and Bangladesh.

While the numbers of persons who use Blissymbols as their alternative form of communication is not large, they are spread all around the world and benefit greatly from the Internet. As well as having their lives enriched, they are in a position to assist speaking persons through demonstrating that Internet communication can take place between persons of different language backgrounds.

(information courtesy of Blisssymbolics Communication International (BCI), Sweden, http://www.blissymbolics.org/)

About BCIC

In 1971, Blissymbolics (Bliss) was adapted from a universal language system (C. K. Bliss' Semantography) to a method enabling instructors to teach language to individuals lacking functional speech. Since 1971, some students have retained Blissymbols as their primary means of communication (via a Bliss-board or voice-output device) while others have used Bliss as the foundation upon which they have built their move to print and consequent literacy.

The goal for every student and our organization is to facilitate the highest level of written communication for persons who are non-speaking.

The intervening decades have boasted great technological advancements and with them, Blissymbols have become easier to access and implement. Blissymbols may be put on voice-output devices, in reference books, email, websites, etc. For those who cannot assimilate phonetically based languages, Bliss has become a powerful and accessible tool. Our project has sought and implemented both the strengths of Bliss as a tool for communication and the internet as a reasonably accessible and inexpensive medium within which to share a love of language and the complex interactions that it affords.


An individual graphic symbol (ideograph)

Blissymbol for 'Person.' Plural Indicator Blissymbol for 'Pencil' Action Indicator


plural indicator


action indicator




Represents a concept or meaning and is spelled using a sequence of one or more bliss-characters

BCIC BlisSymbols Blissymbol for 'Give' Blissymbol for 'Get' Blissymbol for 'Teacher' Blissymbol for 'Student'







Resource Links

Bliss 101, Introductory Web Training

Bliss 101 - Online Courses
Blissymbolics Communication International
Bliss Fan Vimeo Site
BlissUltra Light