American Sign Language History

American Sign Language is by far, the youngest organized & recognized language that we have on earth today. That is just one of the unique aspect of this language. The history of this language dates back to the early 18th century in France when a paris based priest Charles-Michel de l’Épée opened his heart, mind & fortune towards finding a way to bring his neighbour’s twin deaf daughters into mainstream society. What made him unique from others in the field was his unbiased view of deafness as a unique disability rather than something that is the effect of a curse, as had been considered by people of those days.

Until that time, deaf individuals were harshly trained to learn lip reading & the use of signs were prohibited in most schools. The emphasis of those times were to force the deaf individual to adjust with the mainstream society at any cost. Charles-Michel de l’Épée was an exception & his exceptional outlook towards deafness produced exceptional results also. By 1750, his school soon became famous all over france & within a very short time became the “place to go” for any parent who wished their deaf child a humane treatment when it comes to education.After his death, one of his close aide Abbe Sicard took over the management of the school. He was equally or according to historians, more focussed than his predecessor who started the school. The school turned famous to renowned during his time by the intellectual works of two of his two students who were in all aspects as competent as their hearing counterparts. One of his deaf students Laurent Clerc wrote articles about complex subjects like philosophy and became respected in the community. He later became a teacher in the school that trained him & in 1791 took over the leadership of the school.Now, let’s leave them in France & go to America where Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet, who just completed a two year course in theology & was about to join church as a minister was requested by his neighbour to train his deaf daughter.Article Source:

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