Martha’s Vineyard is island in southeastern Massachusetts.
One in every 155 people was born deaf.
so, residents created and learned Martha’s Vineyard Sign Language. Because of this, there was no communication barrier between deaf and hearing residents.
Intermarriage probably contributed to the spread of deafness.
French Sign Language (FSL)
French Sign Language was founded in 1760, which led to education for the deaf in France.
Charles Michel became the teacher of deaf twin sisters, who communicated between themselves and with others by using signs.
Afterwards, he created the National Institute for the Deaf.
Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet was an American educator.
Thomas Gallaudet saw the need of education for deaf children. He went to Europe and brought Laurent Clerc, a deaf teacher from deaf school in Paris, to America to start a deaf school together
Laurent Clerc learned the old ASL used by deaf people in America and combined it with LSF (French Sign Language). Eventually, he standardized the sign system at the school into modern ASL as we know it today.
The first School for the Deaf
1817 Hartford Asylum for the Education and Instruction of the Deaf and Dumb established
The first School for the Deaf using sign language was founded by Gallaudet and Clerc. LSF and MVSL were combined to make American Sign Language
The President signed a law that allowed the establishment of a school for the deaf.
It is still the world’s only liberal arts university for deaf and hard of hearing students.
Alexander Graham Bell
Alexander Graham Bell founds an oralist school in Boston to train teachers of the deaf.
The school subsequently became part of Boston University, where Bell was appointed professor of vocal physiology.
1880,the World Congress of the Educators of the Deaf met in Milan, Italy and passed a resolution to promote Oralism in deaf education all over the world and dismiss all deaf teachers out of deaf schools.
National Association of the Deaf
NAD is an organization for the promotion of the rights of deaf people in the United States; founded as a non-profit organization run by Deaf people
Sign language in the deaf
1900 - 1960
Oralism method proved failure in deaf education.
Average deaf high school graduates ranks third grade in English.
The National Association of the Deaf was founded in the United States and fought for the use of sign language.
They gained a lot of support the use of sign language as they argued that oralism isn’t the right educational choice for all deaf people.
Education for All disabilities Children’s Act
In 1975 Congress passed Public Law 94-142, also known as the Education for All Handicapped Children Act.
Harvard stops offering ASL
The Harvard Department of Linguistics offered two beginning ASL courses. Harvard stops offering ASL, despite high student demand for the classes. The linguistics department cites a lack of funding as a reason for stopping ASL courses.
In the late 90s, ASL poet Clayton Valli came to Harvard to perform poetry at the Phillips Brooks House by the Committee on Deaf Awareness (CODA). He presented six poems in American Sign Language (ASL). Valli's presentation was one of many CODA efforts to increase deaf awareness on campus.
ASL begins at Harvard again
In fall 2016, American Sign Language courses were taught for the first time in over twenty years. Now there are six levels of the language offered, with strong support from the Department of Linguistics and students.