Being deaf was once considered a huge handicap, not any more. With the invention of sign language and schools with professional teachers trained to teach the deaf, this is no longer the case.
One of the earliest written sign languages recorded was in the fifth century. Until the 19th century most of what was known was limited to the manual alphabets.
The earliest known printed pictures of the modern two handed alphabet was around 1698. Seventeen of the modern day two handed alphabet can be found among the 26 hand shapes.
Abbe de l’Epee founded the first school for the deaf in 1755 in Paris, France. Laurent Clerc was it’s most famous graduate.
In 1817 Clerc along with Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet went to the US and founded the American School for the Deaf in Hartford, Connecticut.
Gallaudet son Edward Miner Gallaudet founded a school for the deaf in Washington DC in 1857. In 1864 this became The National Mute College.
Then its name was changed to Gallaudet University and is still the only liberal arts university for the deaf in the entire world.
Deaf people come from all walks of life and take up all kinds of challenging careers. Take for instance Linda Bove a deaf American actress who performed for many years on PBS on Sesame Street.
Linda also appeared in on an episode of Happy Days and the soap opera Search for Tomorrow. With her role on Search for Tomorrow she became one of the first deaf actresses to become a regular on a soap opera.
Ms Bove also performed as a member of the National Theatre of the Deaf founded in 1963. In her role on Sesame Street, Linda is credited with increasing public awareness of the deaf culture.
On June 30th Maryland Governor Larry Hogan announced the appointment of Kelby Brick as the new director of the Governors Office of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (ODHH)
The Governor gave tremendous praise to Brick, stating Brick has dedicated his entire career to making sure the deaf and hard of hearing have the same opportunities as everyone else.
Curtis Pride was born in 1968 and by the age of 9 months tests confirmed he was profoundly deaf. However he did not let this hold him back and in 1996 became the first full season deaf baseball player.
Prides accomplishments in baseball are well known but also pride was a member of the high school soccer team and was a member of the US national team that participated in the Junior World Cup.
Pride is currently the head baseball coach at Gallaudet University. Although we have come a long way in the education of the deaf and hard of hearing, there is still so much more to do.