Symbol Secrets

Back in the early seventies, I received funding from the Ontario Teachers’ Federation, to publish a book about the children in our first Blissymbol classes. It was an exciting project, providing a glimpse into the type of experiences we had, as children used Blissymbols for the first time. The changes in their lives were profound, as they learned to share their thoughts and imagination. Our classrooms grew from a part-time class in the basement of the Ontario Crippled Children’s Centre (OCCC), now the Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital, to two full-time classrooms in the school wing. Throughout our initial program and its expansion, we were supported by an interdisciplinary team of committed professionals. From this early beginning in 1971, the use of Bliss spread to 32 countries and 17 languages. When our Bliss archival collection is completed, there will be many more experiences to share. For now Symbol Secrets provides a beginning!

On Sunday Aug. 2, Don Heights Unitarian Congregation devoted the zoom  service to sharing the creative accomplishments of members and friends. There were presentations of humorous short stories, thoughtful reflections, and, best of all, three children’s stories. One was a loving tale about a friendly giant and a lost butterfly, called The Princess Butterfly, written by Bev Gorbet with her young students many years ago. One was about a pig that angered his fellow farm animals by biting them until one day he learned to stop, accompanied by a song, by Chris White. This story and song had been written when Chris was a teenager, trying to stop his very young brother from biting family members. Lastly, I read a section of Symbol Secrets, sharing the fun we had in our early Bliss program. There was a bit of a mix-up with no sound accompanying the video of Symbol Secrets at the beginning, but we were able to rectify the situation by my reading live. 

I was delighted to share part of Symbol Secrets with the Don Heights zoom group, and I invited them to hear the end of the story here, at Blissful Thoughts.

I hope those who come to our blog for Symbol Secrets will leave their comments for the Bliss users and friends who are regular Blissful Thinkers.

Symbol Secrets by Shirley McNaughton

Swedish, Hebrew and English Accommodating!

Example of accommodating now and in the seventies!

We all know how important it is to have an international standard for the use of Blissymbolics. BCI maintains an Authorized Vocabulary for this very reason.

However we also know that ‘living communication’ requires some accommodation from time to time, to meet the needs of users. A practical example of this took place many years ago when those whose native language was Hebrew needed to view their Blissymbols from right to left instead of from left to right as we do with English words. Judy Seligman-Wine and her colleagues did the extensive work to make this happen when Judy moved from Canada to Israel in the seventies.

We have an example of collaboration and accommodation on Canada Day, 2020. We provided a Blissymbol for “social distancing” for those who speak Hebrew. A “Blissful way” for Canada to collaborate internationally to celebrate our special day!

Here is how it happened:

Back in April, Wern Palmus in Sweden collected the Blissymbols that could be useful during Covid19. They appear in the first entry in Blissful Thoughts (April 24, 2020)

On July 1, 2020, Judy Wine wrote and asked if we had a Blissymbol for “social distancing”.

I wrote back and shared Wern’s work. Judy reminded me that she needed the elements reversed.

With the help of Bliss Online, I was able to send Judy the symbol in its Hebrew form.

So we now have........

In Sweden 

social distansering

In Israel 

ריחוק חברתי

In Canada

Physical distancing

Now, it’s up to us all to KEEP DOING IT!


Happy Canada Day!

A Canada Day greeting from Elaine and Shirley

We wish you a very happy Canada Day!

From Elaine and Shirley

Sorry about the lighting!

This is us on our zoom call on June 30. -

with our covid-19 NON haircuts!

Shirley’s First Blog

For this first Blog, I would like to share the display created by Wern Palmius (Sweden). It gives us vocabulary to use during the Covid19 pandemic. (See Above.)

Secondly, I am adding a “farewell” for email messages, during this physical distancing time. Why don’t you choose the symbols you would like to use at the end of your email messages?

It’s a good way to remind your friends of the unique way
 in which Blissymbols represent meaning

I have chosen to use “physical” distancing to reinforce the terminology we are using in Canada, and because  it was the symbol that was preferred by our Bliss Study Group.

Closing message for emails during pandemic
Term is used in Canada