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Simplified Signs: A Manual Sign-Communication System for Special. Volume 2

John D. Bonvillian
Nicole Kissane Lee
Tracy T. Dooley
et al.

Author Biographies

Texte intégral

1 John D. Bonvillian was a faculty member in the Psychology Department at the University of Virginia for thirty-seven years. He also chaired the University’s Interdepartmental Program in Linguistics. He was known for his contributions to the study of sign language, child development, psycholinguistics, and language acquisition. His research focused on typically developing children, deaf children, and children with disabilities. For the last seventeen years of his career he worked on a simplified, manual sign-communication system. The initial focus of this work was to create an easily-adopted signing system for minimally verbal populations, such as individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), Down syndrome, or cerebral palsy. Later, he studied applications of the Simplified Sign System for foreign language acquisition and for children in limited language environments. He and his research colleagues developed and tested a lexicon of approximately 1850 easily-formed, highly iconic signs or gestures, some of which are presented in these volumes.

2Bonvillian received his Ph.D. in Psychology from Stanford University, where he held a National Science Foundation doctoral fellowship. His B.A. was from Johns Hopkins University in Psychology. He authored over 100 journal articles and was an editor of the journal Sign Language Studies. Before taking his position at the University of Virginia, Bonvillian taught at Vassar College. He also served as a visiting faculty member at Gallaudet University in Washington, DC and the University of Canterbury in New Zealand. He died in 2018.

3 Tracy T. Dooley was an undergraduate honors student at the University of Virginia and a member of Dr. Bonvillian’s research group in the early 1990s, where she studied handedness in the young sign-learning children of Deaf parents. After earning B.A. degrees in Linguistics and Spanish with a minor in Psychology, she obtained her Master of Divinity degree from Emory University’s Candler School of Theology in Atlanta, GA. While studying theology, she also pursued training in sign language interpretation at DeKalb College (now Georgia State University Perimeter College). After moving back to Virginia in 2003, Ms. Dooley rejoined Dr. Bonvillian’s research group, where she focused on the expansion of the Simplified Sign System to include more concepts, the writing and editing of Volumes 1 and 2, and overseeing the development of the sign illustrations. After Dr. Bonvillian’s death, Ms. Dooley updated both volumes of the system in preparation for publication.

4 Nicole Kissane Lee, M.D., Ed.M., had the privilege of formally starting the “Simplified Sign System” project with Dr. John Bonvillian in 1997 when she was a first-year pre-medical student at the University of Virginia. After many hours meticulously studying and testing the memory and recall of simplified signs, Dr. Lee and Dr. Bonvillian published the “Simplified Sign System” on the internet in the spring of 2001 which exponentially launched its soon-to-be international notoriety. Dr. Lee graduated from the University of Virginia in 2001 with High Distinction in Psychology under the mentorship of Dr. Bonvillian, with her thesis work on the “Simplified Sign System” gaining recognition for its unique innovation from The Today Show, CNN, The Washington Post, and CosmoGirl, to name a few. Dr. Lee went on to obtain her medical degree from the Medical College of Virginia, in Richmond, VA, her surgical residency training at the University of Florida, in Gainesville, FL, and fellowship training in advanced laparoscopic surgery at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, MA. Dr. Lee continued her education while in Boston, obtaining additional fellowship training in Medical Simulation from Brigham and Women’s Hospital. She also obtained an Ed.M. with a focus in Technology and Innovation from Harvard University in 2013.

5Dr. Lee is currently a minimally invasive and bariatric surgeon at Indiana University. She is an Assistant Professor of Surgery and the Director of the Indiana University Surgical Skills Center. She is also Co-Director of the Indiana University Surgical Education Research Fellowship. Dr. Lee is an active member of the American College of Surgeons Accredited Education Institute (ACS/AEI) as a member of the Accreditation Review Committee, national site reviewer, and Co-Editor of the ACS/AEI Online Communities. Dr. Lee remains proud and grateful to be associated with the legendary works of her former mentor, Dr. Bonvillian. It was his enthusiasm in education and research which launched her career in medical education and related research.

6 Filip T. Loncke is a psycholinguist from Belgium who came to the United States in 1997 as a professor at the Curry School of Education and Human Development at the University of Virginia. Prior to his arrival in the U.S., he worked for twenty years as an educational psychologist and as a school superintendent for services for children with disabilities. He obtained his B.A. and M.A. degrees in Special Education from the University of Ghent, and an M.A. and Ph.D. degree in neurolinguistics from the University of Brussels. While in Belgium, he was a co-developer of a manual sign system that is currently still in use in parts of Europe. Since his arrival in the U.S. in the late 1990s until Dr. Bonvillian’s passing, he collaborated with Dr. Bonvillian on several research projects related to the Simplified Sign System.

7 Val Nelson-Metlay was born hard-of-hearing in Chicago, IL and is now Deaf. It wasn’t until she was about twenty-five years old that she started to pick up ASL. She graduated from the University of Kansas with a B.F.A. and went on to work at several jobs: cartoonist for a small advertising agency, color separation for two greeting cards, pre-press keyliner, layout artist, and typesetter, book designer, newspaper editor and layout, and finally freelance artist. She is grateful for the opportunity to illustrate these volumes, and for the full support she has received from her family, her dear hearing friends, and many Deaf and hard-of-hearing friends.


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