It is actually hard to pick just one because all of them played important roles. But if I had to pick just one I would pick Abbe de L’Epee because he saw a need and put his all into trying to help.
A lot of us today see many people in need of many different things and we think to ourselves, “I wish I could help,” then we give many excuses why we can’t. He seemed to be a humble man and he took what he learned from others, put everything together to come up with a language that helped A LOT!
I know I chose Abbe de L’Eppe but I also commend Laurent Clerc and Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet. Who knows, if Gallaudet didn’t travel to Europe to learn more about the deaf language over there and if Clerc didn’t drop what he was doing to come to America, where we would be right now?
I am deaf and life has not been that easy for me mainly because of a communication barrier. During this week I have already felt like my life is about to get a lot easier knowing ASL. I lost my hearing in middle school, so I was able to develop good speech skills but the problem with that is when you speak to a hearing person, a lot of them just assume you can hear too, which is not the case. 🙂
Last but not least, Helen Keller. The people I mention before really had a HUGE impact. But Helen gave me the most inspiration. During the time when I was losing my hearing to the time where I could no longer hear I felt alone and lost. I wanted to give up in school because nobody was trying to help me. Everybody just kept saying pray about it and just read my lips.
Finally in high school I was at a fork in the road. One side was saying you can do it just keep pressing on and the other side was saying just give up life. I chose to quit but as soon as I made that decision I went to class one day and there was a guy who was deaf in there with an interpreter. He signed but I didn’t so we wrote notes back and forth. At the end of our conversation he told me to research the name Helen Keller. I read all about her which ended up bringing light into my life. She was deaf AND blind and was able to succeed which motivated me to press on. In a way, my friend in class and Helen saved me from ending my life.
And Michelle, I just want to thank you again for what you are doing. Even though I have done very well educationally I have been doing sort of poor socially. Ever since high school I wanted to learn ASL but my parents felt I didn’t need to learn. Then when I was out of the home I was determined to learn ASL but I had no money. Just a few weeks ago I cried out to God for help with this issue and then I found this site and I have been TRULY blessed. Thank you.