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How American Sign Language Got Its Start

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How American Sign Language Got Its Start

Photo: iStock by Getty Imagessyahrir maulana. Article by Tracy Staedter. Now by Northrop Gruman – March 26, 2021.

The origin of American Sign Language starts with an encounter in 1814 between a young traveling minister, Thomas Gallaudet, and a nine-year-old deaf and mute girl, Alice Cogswell.

At a time when loss of hearing or speech was not well understood — and even considered by some as a mental disorder or punishment — Gallaudet broke through barriers to create a new language. He also established a school for the deaf in New England that still operates today. His work profoundly improved the lives of deaf people in America and laid the groundwork for assistive technology for the deaf that advances the communication and language abilities of people who cannot hear well or talk. […]

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