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Louis Clerc was born on December 26, 1785 in southeastern France. When he was about a year old, Louis fell from his high chair onto the fireplace while severely burning his right cheek. Later discovered that his senses of hearing and smell were damaged. His parents tried many diffrent treatments but none was a success, for eleven years he stayed at home exploring the village and taking care of cows.
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Clerc excelled in his academic studies. However his teacher Abbe Margaron tried teaching him to pronounce words, but there was no success which infuriated this teacher that he gave Clerc a violent blow under his chin. This caused him to accidentally bite his tongue so badly that he swore never again to speak, after that experience it strengthened him. Eight years later he became a tutor in trial the very next year he became a teacher.
Gallaudet and Cogswell were neighbors, Cogswell had taken an interest in the deaf education due to the deafness of his daughter Alice, and the fact that there were no schools for the deaf in the united states. Now Gallaudet and Clerc head to America on board a ship in June 1816. Later they met Alice and founnd her to be a very intelligent girl who was hungry for knowledge but "virtually without a language".
Clerc with Gallaudet as his interpreter went to many city informing many parents with deaf kids about what they are trying to do and they raised around $12,000 from the public. In a great show of support, the Connecticut General Assembly made history voting an additional $5,000 for the school - the first appropriation ever for the education of handicapped people.
On Apirl 15, 1817, rented rooms made up their school which opened with seven students. Alice being the first enrolled, a year later poor and uneducated students filled the school ranching from 10 to 51 years of age. Clerc went on completing 50 years of teaching 41 of those in the states then retiring in 1858. On July 18, 1869 Clerc passed away at age 83.
In 1992, a deaf man named Alan Barwiolek, visited the Clerc gravesides. He was appalled at the deteriorated and vandalized headstones and stated a nationwide campaign to restore the headstones. Clerc had a big impact to people through out his life, he had a idea an brought it to life just by working hard, and through him american sign language came to be.
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