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Hearing People in Deaf Education

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

The Byzantine Emperor Justinian (482–565), in the Justinian Code, correctly identified deafness and muteness as two separate traits, and accorded deaf Byzantine with certain limited rights. While this seems a small achievement today, it would be a thousand years before most of Europe accepted what Justinian knew, and the view that Deaf people could neither speak nor think persisted, and significantly delayed the spread of schools for the Deaf.

The Italian mathematician and philosopher Geronimo (or Girolamo) Cardano (1501–1576) was one of the first to argue that the deaf were capable of thinking. The popular imagination, then even more than now, linked speech with thought inextricably, and few even understood that profound deafness did not always mean muteness. No effort was made to educate the deaf ...

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