The Deaf community was thriving in the 1800’s as portrayed in the picture below where influential Deaf and Hearing people gathered to discuss political and business issues.

 

During this time there was also a strong Deaf community in Martha’s Vineyard, a place where everyone knew and used sign language.  The last living survivor of that group was asked “how did you know who was hearing and who was Deaf” and the response was… “we didn’t”.  Read more about Martha’s Vineyard here.

However, in 1880 there was an educational conference in Milan where a decision was made to focus on Oralism.  Read about this conference and its repercussions here.

There are 2 large organizations who support ASL and the Deaf community, one is the World Federation of the Deaf and you can learn more about them through this link and the second is the National Association of the Deaf who talks about the value and importance of learning ASL.

The WFD states that there are 70million deaf people in the world which is more than the population of France and the WHO states that there are 360million people in the world with hearing loss.

Learning ASL helps recognize its culture and show respect towards Deaf people as well as be involved in a great community!

By Paddy Ladd

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