Deaf Education, 1000 BC - 1700

1500s: Geronimo Cardano: Deaf people are capable of using their minds (IT) 1500s: Geronimo Cardano: Deaf people are capable of using their minds (IT)

  • Geronimo Cardano was the first physician to recognize the ability of the deaf to reason.

1520 - 1584: Pedro Ponce de León, the first teacher of the deaf (ES) 1520 - 1584: Pedro Ponce de León, the first teacher of the deaf (ES)

  • Dom Pedro Ponce de Leon, O.S.B., (1520–1584) was a Spanish Benedictine monk who is often credited as being "the first teacher for the deaf".

    His work with deaf children focused on helping them to learn how to speak language audibly. He also instructed children in writing and in simple gestures.

1620: Juan Pablo Bonet, the first book on the subject of manual alphabetic signs (ES) 1620: Juan Pablo Bonet, the first book on the subject of manual alphabetic signs (ES)

  • In 1620, Juan Pablo Bonet published the first book on the subject of manual alphabetic signs for the deaf.

    Bonet was of the first teachers to devise and record in print a sign alphabet, and his system has had some influence on modern sign languages. However, he was also typical of his age in believing that signing was only a step towards an ideal of oralism rather than a valid form of communication in itself.

1669 – 1724: Amman, Johann Konrad (NL) 1669 – 1724: Amman, Johann Konrad (NL)

  • Johan Konra Amman became a teacher of the deaf around 1690 when a deaf girl, Esther Collader, was brought to him; he succeeded in teaching her to speak. 

    Amman strongly believed in oral techniques using lipreading and articulation teaching. His process consisted principally in exciting the attention of his pupils to the motions of his lips and larynx while he spoke, and then inducing them to imitate these movements, until he brought them to repeat distinctly letters, syllables and words.

1670 – 1750: Étienne de Fay: First deaf teacher of the deaf in France 1670 – 1750: Étienne de Fay: First deaf teacher of the deaf in France

  • Étienne de Fay was born deaf into a noble family, then placed with the monks at the Abbey of St Jean in Amiens. From 1720 to 1725, he was the first deaf teacher known in France who taught deaf children, before the Abbé de l'Epée.