Dr. Cogswell from Connecticut had a deaf daughter who was language-less for a few early years until Dr. Cogswell started talking to his neighbor, Thomas Gallaudet, who wanted to help Alice.
Gallaudet started tutoring Alice and was able to teach her how to write "hat" in the dirt. Gallaudet realized that he could teach the kids himself so he decided to start a school.
Dr. Cogswell was able to show that there were 84 people in Connecticut that needed deaf education so that he could warrant a need for the school. Cogswell was later approved and sent to Europe to learn about deaf education.
When Gallaudet got to Braidswood Academy, they were less than welcoming and did not take interest in teaching Gallaudet about deaf education. He was later introduced to Sincard, who introduced him to Clerc, and later Gallaudet attended classes in their Institution in Paris.
After learning more, Gallaudet felt ready to head back to America but he wanted to take Clerc so that he could help develop the school. After much debate, Clerc got on the ship and taught Gallaudet as many signs as he could on the voyage home.
Arriving in Connecticut, Clerc and Gallaudet were ready to start raising money for their school. By April 1817 they had raised $17,000 for their school.