Sophia Fowler Gallaudet was the deaf wife of Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet, who founded the first permanent public school for the deaf in Hartford, Connecticut. She did not allow her deafness to prevent her from leading a full life. She was educated, raised a family, ran busy household, and helped to found Gallaudet College.
Sophia Fowler was born deaf near Guilford, Connecticut, on March 20, 1798. At that time, there were no schools for the deaf in America. However, Sophia had a good mind. She used her intellect and learned many skills by watching the people around her. She learned to cook and sew, and became a modest, gay and charming young lady. Sophia was nineteen years old when her parents learned that a school for the deaf had been founded in
Hartford, Connecticut. She entered the school in 1817 and stayed there until the spring of 1821. While she was there, the principal of the school, Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet fell in love with her and asked her to marry him. Sophia did not hesitate, and married him in 1821.
As Mrs Gallaudet, she continued to charm the people she met. She was eager to learn from every social situation. Through her contact with the many visitors to her home, she was actually able to continue her education.
Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet died in 1851, leaving his wife to make a life without him. However, her eight children did not leave her without support. With the help of her grown children, she continued to keep house for those children that had not yet married.
In 1857, Mrs Gallaudet's youngest son, Edward Miner Gallaudet, became principal of the Columbia Institution for the Deaf in Washington, D. C. He was only 20 years only at the time, but his ambition was to establish a college for the deaf. His mother shared his dream and work. She usually met with members of Congress and other prominent men in order to gain support for her goals. Through them, she helped to obtain funds to found and maintain Gallaudet College.
Mrs Gallaudet served as matron of the Columbia Institution for the Deaf (now Kendall Demonstration School and Gallaudet College) for nine years. This included two years as head of the department that taught many of the household skills that she had learned as a child, such as cooking and sewing. She retired only when her health began to fail.
During her last years, Mrs Gallaudet spent the winters in Washington, D. C., and the rest of the year traveling and visiting her children and grandchildren. She died on May 13,1877.
Gallaudet has preserved her memory by naming Fowler Hall, which was originally a women's dormitory and is now part of the graduate school, in her honor. Louis Braille (1809-1852)
Six dots. Six bumps. Six bumps in different patterns, like constellations, spreading out over the page. What are they? Numbers, letters, words. Who made this code? None other than Louis Braille, a French 12-year-old, who was also blind. And his work changed the world of reading and writing, forever.
Louis was from a small town called Coupvray, near Paris—he was born on January 4, 1809. Louis became blind by accident, when he was 3 years old. Deep in his Dad's harness workshop, Louis tried to be like his Dad, but it went very wrong; he grabbed an awl, a sharp tool for making boles, and the tool slid and hurt his eye. The wound got infected, and the infection spread, and soon, Louis was blind in both eyes.
All of a sudden, Louis needed a new way to learn. He stayed at his old school for two more years, hut he couldn't learn everything just by listening. Things were looking up when Louis got a scholarship to the Royal Institution for Blind Youth in Paris, when he was 10. But even there, most of the teachers just talked at the students. The library had 14 huge books with raised letters that were very hard to read. Louis was impatient.
Then in 1821, a former soldier named Charles Barbier visited the school. Burbler shared his invention called “night writing”, a code of 12 raised dots that let soldiers share top-secret information on the battlefield without even having to speak. Unfortunately, the code was too hard for the soldiers, but not for 12-year-old Louis！
Louis trimmed Barbier's 12 dots into 6, ironed out the system by the time he was 15, then published the first-ever braille book in 1829. But did he stop there? No way! In 1837, he added symbols for math and music. But since the public was skeptical, blind students had to study braille on their own. Even at the Royal Institution, where Louis taught after he graduated, braille wasn't taught until after his death. Braille began to spread worldwide in 1868,when a group of British men, now known as the Royal National Institute for the Blind, took up the cause.
Now practically every country in the world uses braille. Braille books have double-sided pages, which saves a lot of space. Braille signs help blind people get around in public spaces. And, most important, blind people can communicate independently, without needing print. Louis proved that if you have' the motivation, you can do incredible things. What is Braille?
Braille is a code which enables blind persons to read and write. It was invented by a blind Frenchman, Louis Braille, in 1829. Braille is comprised of a rectangular six-dot cell on its end, with up to 63 possible combinations using one or more of the six dots. Braille is embossed by hand(or with a machine) onto thick paper, and read with the fingers moving across on top of the dots. Combinations of Braille dots within a cell represent contractions of two or more print letters and Braille characters take up three times as much space as print. Who uses Braille?
Braille is used by blind persons whose vision is sufficiently impaired that they cannot ordinarily read print. Braille is the only reliable method of literacy for blind persons because it enables them to read and write and can actually be substituted for print in most circumstances. Blind persons of all ages and in all walks of life use Braille in the same ways that sighted persons use print.
Why is there a decrease in the use of Braille?
Lydia Richardson appears engrossed in reading a fascinating story in Braille.
Until the mid-nineteen sixties, most blind students attended segregated residential schools for the blind. As blind students were integrated into public school programs, the teaching and use of Braille decreased. There is a significant shortage of qualified teachers of the blind who know Braille and can teach it. The use of tape recorders, and computers with synthetic speech have reduced the use of Braille. Listening to a document is not the same as reading it. Listening is not literacy.