Laura Dewey Bridgman Was The First Deaf and Blind Person to Learn Language
Written by Bug:
Laura Dewey Bridgman is known as the first Deaf and Blind American child to get education in English language 50 years before the more famous Helen Keller. In 1831 Laura became very sick when she was 24 months old. She lost all senses such as hearing, sight, smell, and taste. Touch was only her sense. She delvoped the basic sign language with gestures for food and other basic needs. Also, she signed a name for each family member. The book author from England wrote about her and made the world to understand that deaf and blind people can be educated. In 1886, Helen Keller’s parents read it and realized there was a new hope for their daughter Hellen. Most people thought that Helen Keller was the first deafblind child to learn language but Laura was the first American to learn language. I found an interesting article so I want to share this with you. Read on:
Laura Dewey Bridgman (1829-1889)
(photo from: Lamson, Mary Swift – Life and education
of Laura Dewey Bridgman, the deaf, dumb and blind girl.
c. 1878 – New England Publishing Co.)
Laura Dewey Bridgman was born on December 21, 1829, in Etna, New Hampshire. She was normal at birth, but contracted scarlet fever at the age of two which destroyed her hearing and sight. A newspaper account about Laura in the spring of 1837 attracted the attention of Dr. Samuel Howe, director of the Perkins Institute for the Blind in Watertown, Massachusetts. Eager to attempt to teach a deaf-blind pupil, he brought her to the Institute in October 1837.
The process was slow and tedious, but Laura eventually learned to read and to write using specially grooved paper. Dr. Howe’s report of his successful experiment aroused worldwide interest and Laura became a wonder of her day. The British author, Charles Dickens, even devoted a chapter of his book, American Notes (1842) to a discussion of Laura’s case. Her formal education ceased when she was twenty, but Laura continued to live at the Perkins Institute for the rest of her life. She spent most of her time knitting, sewing, cleaning, and writing letters to friends. Laura Bridgman died on May 24, 1889.
To read more, click: http://library.pittstate.edu/spcoll/ndxbridgman.html
Research Links: http://virtualology.com/hallofwomen/LAURABRIDGMAN.COM/