A Pioneering Tradition
Before 1817, deaf children in America did not have access to an education. That changed when a few dedicated community leaders came together to establish what is now the American School for the Deaf. To help establish the school, Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet traveled to Europe in search of methods for teaching deaf students. During his journey, he met Laurent Clerc, a teacher at the French Institute for the Deaf in Paris. Clerc came to America - bringing with him French Sign Language - and helped to found the American School for the Deaf. Clerc became ASD’s first teacher, and American Sign Language was born.