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Interests: History

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<p>Deaf History is full of interesting facts about people, places, and events that we all know well, or have at least thought about some time. People like Helen Keller in the deaf-blind community; places like Martha’s Vineyard with its once outsized deaf community; worldwide events like the Deaflympics and the current movement of Deaf President Now, which is exciting in and of itself; and a wide range of famous deaf people who have changed the way we view the world of education, technology, even sports and entertainment. So what do you know deaf history? You’ll be surprised that you know more than you think; take a look at the timeline below.<p> <p><b>Deaf History Timeline</b></p> <p>Before the 1700s there were attempts to find “cures for deafness”, which were not effective, nor even based on real scientific research, but of course this was the sign of the times. The earliest people to use sign language in America were actually native Indian tribes from the plains, who utilized Indian Sign Language (also called Plains Sign Language) to communicate among different tribes who had unintelligible languages to one another. So they developed a common sign language to communicate, and it had nothing to do with deafness. A place where deafness was part of reality is the interesting case of Martha’s Vineyard, where the majority of its residents, at some point as many as 1 in 4 children born deaf, suffered from hearing impairment. The fact that the island was isolated from the mainland propagated a gene from the earliest settlers. By the mid-19th century, compared to the U.S. mainland where there was only 1 deaf person in almost 6000 people, on the Vineyard the frequency was 1 in 155.</p> <p><b>20th and 21st Century Deaf Reality</b></p> <p>In Deaf History, the 19th century brought about some interesting points, people like Thomas Edison and Alexander Bell made amazing advances in science and technology, while the founding of the Gallaudet University was a major achievement for the advancement of Deaf Education. The 20th century brought us great people like Helen Keller who was a language enthusiast and she happened to also be deaf-blind, but it also showed us how badly mistreated deaf people were during the Great Depression and the Holocaust. In the 1960s, the Cochlear implant was produced and Dr. Richard Cornett invented cued speech. Deaf History in the late 20th century and early 21st century opened our eyes to new innovative ways to support and cope with deafness in our society. Actors like Phyllis Frelich and Linda Bove in the 70s, Marlee Matlin in the 80s and 90s, as well as Dianne Braye in 2000 hitting mainstream media, gave us insight into the experience of life as a deaf person.</p> <p>Recent Deaf History brought the Baha Implant that may change the way deaf people relate to their disability, along with the hearing world’s consideration of deaf culture, the deaf community, and deaf history as a whole.</p>
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