Simplified Signs

Simplified signs are signs that have been modified and are used in an adaptive manner for special populations. These populations might include special-needs students or those with physical challenges and language limitations. The tendency when modifying signs is to simplify the formation of the sign itself. This simplification creates an ease of movement for those with limitations. In addition, these signs are often more iconic, made to closely resemble the word that is being signed.

What is an iconic sign?

An iconic sign is a pictorial representation. The formation, shape, and/or movement of an iconic sign can closely represent the visual imagery of the word.

Various programs have adopted the use of adaptive signs successfully. Keep in mind that these modified, simplified signs are not part of pure ASL. However, signs that have been adapted to serve specific populations truly have a positive impact and effect. Often, when these particular populations are given sign language as a means of enhancing communication, the modified, simplified signs decrease the frustration felt by these individuals. Generally, the signs are single vocabulary words and are used and applied in a manner similar to the home signs discussed in Chapter 1.

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