TJ Publishers, Inc. was founded in 1978 by the late Terrence J. (“TJ”) O’Rourke. For over 40 years, TJ Publishers has been a leading provider of sign language instructional materials.
TJ was born in Bellingham, Washington and lost his hearing at the age of 10. He was a graduate of the California School for the Deaf, Berkeley and Gallaudet University. Through his work with the National Association of the Deaf, he was instrumental in establishing sign language programs in schools, colleges, universities and agencies across the nation. He became an internationally recognized expert on American Sign Language (ASL) and led the way to the formal recognition of the of ASL as a language by encouraging and participating in formal linguistic research with various institutions. He served as both vice president and president of the American Coalition of Citizens with Disabilities and was a member of the Executive Committee of the President’s Committee on Employment of the Handicapped. He provided a vehicle, through T.J. Publishers, to disseminate information about Deaf people, materials to expand Deaf awareness and books and videos on the language of Deaf people. He published and greatly encouraged the works of Deaf authors. He edited and authored more than five books himself, including A Basic Course in Manual Communications and A Basic Vocabulary: American Sign Language for Parents and Children. He was truly a giant in the Deaf community.