Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Special Education and Communication Disorders

First Advisor

Dr. Arleen Michael

Second Advisor

Dr. Donna Eyde

Third Advisor

Dr. Barbara Luetke-Stahlman

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Tom Lorsbach


This study investigated the phonology of a sign system when it was used to train expressive vocabulary development in a mentally retarded-emotionally disturbed child. The study specifically dealt with the salience of movement and number of hands involved in the construction of a sign. For the subject in the study, two-handed signs involving movement were the most readily learned. Further comparison among the categories observed indicated that the parameter of movement appeared to be an important factor in expressive learning of while the number of hands involved was less important. Recent studies show that ease of acquisition may be influenced more by the structure of the task than by external reinforcement. Based on this knowledge, it was proposed that the results of the present study could serve as a foundation for building a sign lexicon which would promote learning efficiency as it would be uniquely structured to the individual.


A Thesis Presented to the Department of Special Education and the Faculty of the Graduate College University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree Master of Science University of Nebraska at Omaha. Copyright 1983 Mary Wunder Lopez.