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  Deaf History, Europe

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1858: First School for the Deaf in Finland, Porvoo

1858: First School for the Deaf in Finland, Porvoo

In 1846, Carl Oscar Malm (1826 - 1863) established a private school for the deaf in Porvoo. In the school, Malm gave instruction in the sign language he had learnt at the Manilla School in Sweden. His objective was that the student should learn both sign language and written language at the same time.

Malm worked as a teacher in Porvoo for over ten years. During that time, he endeavoured to get the government to take responsibility for instruction of the deaf. This goal was achieved in 1858 when an imperial decree was issued for the establishment of a school for the deaf in Turku, SW Finland. Because of his deafness, Malm was not appointed director of the school but he was chosen as a teacher without a separate application.

In his school inauguration speech, Malm said that he was happy because he had been allowed to prepare the way for the education of the deaf-mute, "though such efforts were only the result of God's will" and he himself was merely "a humble tool."

Malm's career in the Turku School for the Deaf was short. He died of pneumonia on 8 June 1863 at the early age of 37. 

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