On Tuesday, August 11, I was interviewed by Chris White for his radio program, ‘Special Blend’, on station CKCU, FM. Joining us was his sister, Sheila White, music director at Don Heights Unitarian Congregation. We had an hour of conversation about my experiences with Blissymbolics and those who have used ‘Bliss’ for their first expressive mode of communication. In response to their thoughtful questions, I was able to do lots of reminiscing about the Bliss program we developed in the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s in Canada, and I described a little of what is happening with Bliss today. Near the end of the hour, Chris included the Bliss i-Band playing the ‘Blues with Margareta’ – a recording we made when Margareta Jennische, President of Blissymbolics Communication International, visited Canada from Sweden last November, and joined us in making music in our Wednesday afternoon session.
After our conversation, as I reflected on what I had said, I found three mistakes! Memory can play tricks as one looks back over 49 years!
- I stated that our first Blissymbol Program in 1971, began with six children, “meeting once a week”. Really, it was the clinical team that met once each week (on Fridays). The children met Monday through Thursday, in two groups of three.
- I attributed the Halloween combine symbol for ‘vampire’ to John Dowling. Terry Martin should have been recognized! He was the vampire! Terry always liked to be known at gatherings as “Mr. Combine”, competing for first place with Valerie Cruse of Brantford, who claimed the title of “Ms. Combine”! John had an Indian costume that Halloween, back in 1972 or 1973!
- I said there were 150 Kindergarten children in my Ph.D. research project. There were only 107 children in my study, although the amalgamated school in Effingham, Illinois, where I did my testing, did have 150 Kindergarten students all in the same location. I was correct in saying there were 32 adults with severe congenital physical and speech impairments in my study. My thesis can be read: https://www.semanticscholar.org/paper/Reading-acquisition-of-adults-with-severe-speech-McNaughton/dc16cf141539c7a48221f9078dc2b6c5d47d6ea5#paper-header
Now I have a little task for you to do:
When you listen to the i-Band playing, try to identify which improviser was a person with no physical disability. There was only one! Then click the link to watch the video. See if you were correct. I would love to hear from those who correctly identified the improviser who had no physical disability. I would love to know how you knew!
If you discover any other memory mistake, i invite you to write and tell us all!
COMMENT IN BLISS
Look below to see Gabriel’s Comment (sent by his dad, Jimmy), translated into Blissymbols.