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Roch Ambroise Auguste Bébian (1789-1839)

Journal of Special Education , Volume 19 (2): 146 – Jul 1, 1985


Sage Publications
Copyright © 1985 by SAGE Publications
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Roch Ambroise Auguste Bébian (1789-1839)


Roch Ambroise Auguste Bébian (1789-1839) SAGE Publications, Inc.1985DOI: 10.1177/002246698501900202 PaulIrvine Roch Ambroise Auguste B6bian was born in Guadaloupe on August 4, 1789. At the age of eleven he was sent to Parish to be educated by his godfather, the Abbe Sicard, the distinguished director of the National Institution for the Deaf. Bebian studied under the great deaf teacher Laurent Clerc, who later assisted in the establishment of the first school for the deaf in the United States. B6blan, though not deaf himself, developed a proficiency in sign language that was remarkable for a hearing person. He joined the staff of the school, where he was outstanding as a teacher and supervisor. Bebian was almost single-handedly responsible for a major revision in the sign language being taught to the deaf. He devised a simplified, "natural" system of signs that quickly replaced the cumbersome system then in use throughout Europe. He also founded the Journal o/77M~Mc~oMybrD<?a/ MM~ and the Blind as a vehicle for criticism of the existing system of education for children with these handicaps. While B6bian's prominence as an educator was growing, his activities as a critic put his career in jeopardy. Driven by a singular devotion to
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