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.
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.
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.
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.
"Abbé Charles Michel de l'Epée of Paris founded the first free school for deaf people in 1755."
"He first recognized and learned the signs that were already being used by deaf people in Paris and then developed his sign system. He added a signed version of spoken French."
Thomas Braidwood (1715–1806) was a Scottish educator, significant in the history of deaf education. He was the founder of Britain's first school for the deaf.
Braidwood changed his vocation from teaching hearing pupils to teaching the deaf, and renamed his building Braidwood's Academy for the Deaf and Dumb, the first school of its kind in Britain.
The educational approach utilized a "combined system" incorporating sign language, articulation, speech, and lip-reading. Braidwood's input into the development and application of a signed language has been credited as one of the most significant influencers of what would become British Sign Language.
"Samuel Heinicke was born April 14, 1727, in the part of Europe that is now the eastern part of Germany. In 1754, he began tutoring students—and one of them was deaf. This deaf student reportedly was a young boy. He used the manual alphabet to teach that deaf pupil."
"In 1777, his reputation as a deaf educator was so well established that he was asked to open the first (oral) public school for the deaf. This school opened in Leipzig, Germany and it was the first school for the deaf officially recognized by a government."
Roch-Ambroise Cucurron Sicard (20 September 1742 – 10 May 1822) was a French abbé and instructor of the deaf.
In 1789, on the death of the Abbé de l'Épée, he succeeded him at a leading school for the deaf which Épée had founded in Paris.
In 1779, Piere Desloges wrote what may be the first book published by a deaf person, in which he advocated for the use of sign language in deaf education.
It was in part a rebuttal of the views of Abbé Claude-François Deschamps de Champloiseau, who had published a book arguing against the use of signs.
Desloges explained, "like a Frenchman who sees his language belittled by a German who knows only a few French words, I thought I was obliged to defend my language against the false charges of this author." He describes a community of deaf people using a sign language (now referred to as Old French Sign Language).