A Good Sign
There was a time when deaf children and adults were institutionalized in asylums because they were often considered mentally impaired or unintelligent. But one man who helped change those attitudes was Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet, who was born in Philadelphia on this date in 1787. He learned sign language at the Institut Royal des Sourds-Muets (Royal Institute for Deaf-Mutes) in Paris. Back in the United States, he and Laurent Clerc opened the first free school for the deaf in Hartford, Conn., which is still in existence today as the American School for the Deaf.
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