Scene 1: Transition to Oralism

* Milan Conference
* Movement away from natural sign language to Oralism
* 8 Resolultions
* Oppression of using sign language at schools or in public
* Speech therapy exercises
* Lipreading
* Signing is the last resort
* Alexander Melville Bell who taugh diction and elocution (visible speech)
* Alexander Graham Bell
* Thought that deaf are "savages" and unequal
* Edward Miner Gallaudet
* Voting for Oralism
* English only
* 1880
* 1860s
* Darwinism's influence -- perspective on signed language: lower than spoken language

Scene 2: National Convention of the Deaf Mutes

* Discussing their [Deaf] rights
* A place where Deaf people could gather and enjoy themselves

"The National Association of the Deaf (NAD) was established in 1880 by deaf leaders who believed in the right of the American Deaf Community to use sign language, to congregate issues important to them, and to have interests represented at the national level. These beliefs remain true to this day, with American Sign Language as a core value" (

Scene 3: Milan Congress 1880

* What happened there
* Oralism chosen, sign banned
* Deaf teachers fired
* Set up oralism in every school

"'On September 6, 1880, educators of the Deaf from all contries assembled at Milan for an International Congress.' The discussions were supposed to be about 'School Buildings,' 'Teaching,' and 'Methods.' They passed over the first two questions and proceeded at once to the 'methods.' Each person representing his country spoke about the method they used in the instruction and education of their children. Many used speech, others the 'combined' system. The meeting closed by the President and several resolutions were put into adoption. The oral method was preferred. Children were to be admitted at the age of eight to ten years. A class should have no more than ten children in the Pure Oral Program. New children being reviewed should be in a class by themselves and not with children who were further advanced. The school term should be at least seven years or eight. Everyone attending the conference was inspired in hopes for a new progress for the education of the deaf. All countries except the United States adopted the oral method as the preferred method." (

Scene 4: Clash of the communication systems
(although not included in this translation)

* The fight between oralists and sign language supporters
* Who supports what and their reasonings
* Bell vs. Gallaudet
* Oralism vs. ASL
* Debates over how to educate Deaf children
*Deaf perspectives versus the hearing perspective
* NAD vs. Milan Conference (Deaf Educators)
* Causes ASL to go "under ground" - perseveres through oppression
* Natural language vs. forced spoken language
* Educators outlawed the use of sign language for educational purposes. 5 Americans voted against the decision.