By: Heather Meyer (02/20/17)
Thomas Gallaudet is my favorite in Deaf history for multiply reasons. I see many people stating how Gallaudet brought sign language to America but sign language was already here in many home signs as well as other regional signed systems (i.e. Martha’s Vinyard). What Gallaudet did was bring the Deaf community to a central location to learn as a group and encouraged and advocated more for the formation of a single language ASL which in turn connected the Deaf as a community and culture at large. As an educator of young students, I emphatically enjoy that Gallaudet saw an educational need for a child and put his whole heart, soul, and time into finding the appropriate and best method to educate her. He didn’t try to force his way of learning or communicating like so many others in the educational field can do. He saw a child who needed a different method of communicating, learning, and succeeding and researched, educated himself, and found an appropriate learning/communication avenue. The educational system in America has swings of paradigms that effect so many students. Sometimes, educators try to change things just to say they made a difference without considering the students’ best interest and sometimes educators think they know whats best without researching and looking at each child’s needs. There are many in the history of education that have hurt as well as helped improve our educational system. Howard Gardner in 1983 saw a need for each student to learn using different methods (intelligences) but even before him there was Thomas Gallaudet that saw the need for students to learn differently!