The establishment of the first school for the deaf in Paris, France in 1760 marked a turning point in the history of deaf education. Founded by Abbe Charles-Michel de l'Epee, the school provided a formal education for deaf children, using a sign language system that de l'Epee had developed. This system, known as Old French Sign Language, was the first standardized sign language system and laid the foundation for modern sign languages.
De l'Epee's school was groundbreaking in its recognition of sign language as a legitimate language and its commitment to educating deaf children. Prior to its establishment, deaf people had little access to education or language, often being isolated from their communities and families. The school in Paris provided a place for deaf children to learn and communicate with each other and their teachers.
Today, the legacy of the first school for the deaf lives on in the many schools and programs that provide education and support for the deaf and hard of hearing. The recognition of sign language as a valid language has also opened up opportunities for communication and connection across communities and cultures.