Google Doodle on Saturday honoured ‘Father of the Deaf’ Abbe Charles-Michel de l’Epee on his 306th birth anniversary. Epee founded the first public school for the deaf and even developed a visual method that became the blueprint for the teaching of the deaf. “Every deaf-mute sent to us already has a language,” he wrote.
“He is thoroughly in the habit of using it, and understands others who do. With it he expresses his needs, desires, doubts, pains, and so on, and makes no mistakes when others express themselves likewise.” Son of an architect, Epee was born in Versailles in 1712.
In 1760, he used his own inheritance to found the Institution Nationale des Sourds-Muets a Paris, a school for the deaf that was open to all regardless of their ability to pay. For his contribution to the society, according to Google blog post, “the French National Assembly recognised him as a ‘Benefactor of Humanity’ and asserted the rights of deaf people under France’s Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen.
His school went on to receive government funding and remains open to this day renamed as Institut National de Jeunes Sourds de Paris.”