Essay about The History of Deaf Education

Essay about The History of Deaf Education

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Long before Thomas Gallaudet founded the first permanent school for the deaf in America, controversy as to the educability and best method of communicating with the deaf have existed. In fact, in the Biblical Times section of the book The Deaf Community in America Socrates, in conversation with Hermogenes is quoted saying, “Suppose that we have no voice or tongue, and wanted to indicate objects to one another, should we not, like the deaf and dumb, make signs with the hands, head and the rest of the body? Hermogenes replied, “How could it be otherwise, Socrates?” (M.Nomeland and R.Nomeland 7). However, Aristotle in apparent disagreement with Socrates believed that hearing contributed the most to intelligence and that thought could be expressed through the medium of articulation. A belief that for the next two thousand years led to him being accused of oppressing the deaf.
Fast forward to the year 1813 in Hartford, Connecticut; a young man by the name of Thomas Gallaudet notices a young deaf girl, Alice Cogswell, having difficulty communicating with her siblings during outdoor play. Sympathetic to her disability, he takes the initiative to try to communicate with her by writing a word in the dirt with a stick, then pointing to the object that correlated to the written word. After patient encouragement the words were soon understood by the young girl, and “In that one afternoon, Gallaudet was convinced that she had the capability to learn just like the hearing kids” (33).
Gallaudet, at the request of Alice’s father Dr. Cogswell, left for England with the intentions of learning the “oral-only” method of teaching used at the Braidwood Academy of the deaf, a method that used speech training to generate sounds, but “the Braidwood family...


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...ughton Mifflin Company, 2006. 407. Print.
Lane, Harlan. The Deaf Experience: Classics in Language and Education. Ed. Harlan Lane. Trans. Franklin Philip. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1984. 9-51. Print.
Lou, Mimi WheiPing. Language Learning and Deafness: The history of language use in the education of the Deaf in the United States. Ed. Michael Strong. Cambridge: Cambridge Universtiy Press, 1988. 77-96. Print.
Nomeland, Melvia M, and Ronald E. Nomeland. The Deaf Community In America: History in the Making. Jefferson: McFarland & Company, Inc., 2012. 7-112. Print.
Sacks, Oliver. Seeing voices: A Journey Into The World of The Deaf. New York: HarperPerennial, 1990. 13-149. Print.
Stewart, David A and Luetke-Stahlman, Barbara. the Signing Family: What Every Parent Should Know about SignCommunication. Washington D.C.: Gallaudet University Press, 1998. 27-30. Print.

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