One of the earliest companies in the Assistive Technology field was Mayer-Johnson, which started as a mail order company focusing on augmentative communication products. Roxie Johnson, co-owner of the company with her husband Terry, had been working as a speech therapist with special needs children in the public-school system and with adults in a hospital setting. She saw the need for a set of picture symbols that limited-speaking or non-speaking persons could use for communicating. She developed the first book entitled The Picture Communication Symbols (PCS) that included 700 picture symbols. The symbols were designed with thick lines, so they could be photocopied to support multiple users. Mayer-Johnson was incorporated in 1980 and 100 books were printed with a one-page advertising mailer sent to 300 potential customers.
From that small beginning the company continually grew. In 1985 the second book of symbols was printed, and many other coordinating products were included in the growing catalog. Terry Johnson, previously a special education teacher, became more and more involved and eventually began running the company full-time. The “silly man” logo used by the company was inspired by Terry.