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Deaf History: Central America

  • By: Trudy Mercadal
  • In: The SAGE Deaf Studies Encyclopedia
  • Edited by: Genie Gertz & Patrick Boudreault
  • Subject:Physical Disabilities, Otorhinolaryngology (Ears, Nose, & Throat)

The history of Deaf communities in Mexico and Central America remains largely unknown. Moreover, to this day, few reliable statistics in the region document how many persons have disabilities and what type of disabilities. One way of tracing the historical trajectory of Deaf communities is by studying the development of Sign Language and education for Deaf people. The history of Deaf sign languages is interrelated to the education and formation of Deaf communities. Scholars have suggested that European missionary religious orders took a European version of sign language to the Americas, to enable missionaries to communicate with the local communities. Indicators exist, as well, that suggest local indigenous communities had a well-developed autochthonous sign language before the Spanish conquerors arrived. Therefore, scholars believe that an ...

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