My Independent Study about the American Deaf Community

It was a quiet day in the apartment.  Daniel and I took a very leisurely stroll this morning around the neighborhood, since it was sunny and it felt warm.  We were discussing the focus of my independent study.  I’m sure I will detail it more later, but for right now I want to focus on the establishment of the Deaf Community in America (which came with the establishment of the first school for the Deaf in Hartford, Connecticut in 1817).  Then I want to focus on the change in attitude that took place in the years after the Civil War, resulting in a pedagogical switch to oralism in almost all of the Deaf schools around the country.  This resulted from the change in thinking from a theology-based school to a more Darwinist, science-based school of thought.  It also largely resulted from the influence of Alexander Graham Bell, inventor of the telephone, and a conference that took place in Milan, Italy in 1880.  People began to believe that teaching Deaf children to speak was best for them, so that they could fit in with hearing society.  To most people, the idea of teaching a Deaf child to speak English when most of them went to school with no language background whatsoever is a ridiculous one today.

I also want to discuss how the Deaf Community is related to other minority communities and how it is different.  Currently, one of the biggest threats to the Deaf Community seems to be children entering mainstream schools, where they have an interpreter and may be the only Deaf child in their school.  After Brown v. Board of Education, people realized that segregating children based on their “differences” was the wrong thing to do, especially because facilities were not equal in any way.  But, for the Deaf Community, separate schools mean that children are free to be taught in ASL, and are surrounded by other people that use a common language.  They are able to learn the culture of the Deaf Community.  So, for most of the hearing population, after the Civil Rights movement, ideas about what it means to be different again changed and people assumed the best thing for Deaf children was to take them out of their residential schools and to put them in mainstream schools, like any hearing child.

I haven’t started to write my paper yet, but I will probably begin this week.  I’m very excited about it; I’ve been doing research all semester and I will finally have something physical to show for it.  I may even post the final paper on here.  We will see.


One of the driveways on Canterbury has LOVE spelled out in the bricks.  It’s all you need, right?


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