2In the early 1500s, people who were deaf were overlooked and neglected In the early 1500s, people who were deaf were overlooked and neglected. Nobody respected them because they were unable to communicate with the rest of the world.
3European Influence: The Early Roots Just like America, ASL has its roots in other countries. The European nations hold an important role in the beginnings of Deaf communication. One of the oldest references for finger spelling was published in 1620 by Juan Pablo Bonet from Spain.Anthony Deusing published a book in Holland called, The Deaf and the Dumb Man Discourse in 1656; this book gave an influential view on why Signing is an easier method of teaching than the oral methods
4European Influence: The Early Roots As far back as the 1700's, in France, there was a type of sign language called Old French Sign Language (OFSL), which could be used to talk about politics, family and so forth.A cleric named Abbe De L’epee realized the potential for using OFSL as an educational tool for the Deaf. L’epee and others placed a French stylized grammar structure into OFSL, not realizing there was a grammar style already existing in OFSL. This new style of signing was later called, Old Signed French (OSF).
5European Influence: The Early Roots In 1771 a Deaf school was established in Paris, France. Enabling French Deaf children to get the education their parents wanted them to have, in France creating a larger French Deaf community
6On July 1815 Abbe Sicard Epee became head of the royal institute for the Deaf, in Paris. He would become very influential in the creation of ASL when he later took his examples of his schools’ signed language to London to promote his teachings.In London, with one of his brilliant graduates, Laurent Clerc, he met up with an American, Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet, and invited him to the school in Paris to learn OSF.
7European Influence: The Early Years This would mark the beginning of American Sign Language. To this day ASL and FSL share more than fifty percent of their signs.
8Signing on American Soil Around 1690 the island community of Martha’s Vineyard was predominantly hearing, but because there were so many Deaf citizens, nearly everybody was able to communicate with each other through a form of sign language that was commonly called Martha’s Vineyard Sign Language (MVSL)The birth rate of Deaf to hearing on the island in the late 1800's was 1 in 155, while the national birth rate of Deaf to hearing was 1 in 2,730.
9Gallaudet, Clerc and Cogswell: Advocates for ASL There was no schools, organizations, or support for those who are Deaf in the 17th or early 18th century.The only option available for parents with Deaf children were forced to find help in European countries, which had private academies that specialized in deaf education.
10In 1815, Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet, a young American who studied at Yale decided to learn the European methods of educating Deaf after befriending his neighbor’s Deaf daughter, Alice Cogswell.
11On April 15, 1817 in Hartford Connecticut, the Connecticut Asylum for the Education and Instruction of Deaf and Dumb Persons opened.