Vancouver Congress of 2010 – Long Live Signed Language!

Mark the date…

July 19, 2010.

This is an important date for all of the time. The most significant milestone for Deaf History!

It will be known as


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Vancouver Congress of 2010 is also known as the International Congress on the Education of the Deaf (ICED) has their the 21st conference in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada during the week of July 18-22, 2010.

The International Congress on Education of the Deaf (ICED) was first held in Paris in 1878 to bring together educators to discuss key issues in Deaf Education. Over the years, ICED has continued to meet and draw together leading educators, professionals and researchers involved in educating deaf and hard of hearing students to present the latest advances, developments and achievements. In recent years, the Congress has met every 5 years.

In 1880, the 2nd International Congress met in Milan Italy, passed the resolutions banning signed languages. That was the beginning of the darkest period of Deaf History and Deaf Education.

Upon the closing of the meeting, the verdict was clear: the pure oral method was approved by a large margin. Giulio Tarra, as the president of the convention concluded, “Yesterday, we were shouting ‘Long live Speech!’ Now we will say, ‘Long live Pure Speech!” or “Lunga vita alla parola!” in Italian.


130 years later, the 21st International Congress in Vancouver, BC

Canada formally apologized, and rejected Milan 1880

resolutions after 130 years of banning signed languages all over the


One conference participant Dr. Shilpa Hanumantha, (2nd year post-doctoral research fellow at Visual Language and Visual Learning -VL2 based at Gallaudet University) is in Vancouver as a platform presenter. She is presenting on the topic “Deaf-Friendly Science? Toward Ethical Practice in Research Involving Deaf Participants” along with a pre-doctoral student, Gabrielle Jones from the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign. Not present at ICED conference yet still remains as a leading researcher of this project is Dr. Jenny Singleton from University of Illinois.

Dr. Hanumantha also known as jasindia tweeted today,

@jasindia: i witnessed ICED stating a formal apology for the Milan 1880 conference which banned signed languages in deaf education all over the world!

@jasindia: the ban is now removed!!! the whole room roared like crazy… definitely a historical emo-emo moment for all. *big fat grins*

@jasindia: several are crying with joy that the ban is removed– hopefully, this means a better future in Deaf Ed for children all over the world! 😀

Now, we can say…

“Long Live Signed Language!”

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30 comments on “Vancouver Congress of 2010 – Long Live Signed Language!

[…] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Amy Cohen Efron, Amy Cohen Efron. Amy Cohen Efron said: Vancouver Congress 2010 : Long Live Signed Language! […]

Great… now may the deaf schools start recovering, and that the deaf education committees around the world become more flexible and more supportive of the needs of deaf children. Literacy, signacy, and oracy.

I haven’t heard anything about an “apology” yet, just a “rejection”. I want to see the formal announcement from ICED or whatever source.

I also hope that the news media will pick up this story. After all, the newspapers on Sept. 12, 1880 had no problems publishing the headline “Sign Language is abolished!” It’s time for the media to make up for their own transgressions on our community as well.


It was announced as a formal apology. If you want this to be written, then tweet/email to the participants at ICED to have this in writing.

We can inform news ourselves! Ideas? It is very important to be reported to the media!


That is great news!

This news should be in Public Release to all the media around the world in the next few days.

About time! Yay! Please put this on Facebook to be share and spread the word all over the globe!

fantastic!!!thanks for sharing with us!!((((group hugs)))) yayayaya! YES!! PAH!!! 🙂

A cause for celebration? I must be missing something here.

In my opinion what ICED says or does won’t matter. It’ll always boil down to parents’ choice on what to do with their child. I thought everybody knew that by now.

Like AG Bell… they finally decided to add ASL in their pamphlets not long ago but they did not shy away from the fact that oralism remained as the preferred choice of their organization. I honestly don’t think an apology from ICED is going to make any difference. It’s just a tactical move on their part to get rid of bad publicity, technically.

In short, you may have gotten what you wanted, a formal apology. Good for you. We’re happy for you. However in reality, it won’t change anything because their main goal will remain the same.

The Canadian Government did the same thing last year when they issued a formal apology to the people of First Nation for eradication of their home land, culture and language. The Native Americans were happy and they celebrated afterwards. They went home. A year passed and there has been changes or new improvement in the ways of life of First Nation and their people.

In short, nothing has changed. It was just an official apology to get rid of the bad publicity. And it worked. That’s what happens when an apology come across as “too little and too late”. I see the same thing happening here ICED, and the new technologies that are out there, not to mention what else is coming around the corner.

That is a wonderful news! I hope that it will impact all Deaf Education in America.

Whoooo Whooo!!
thanks for this! I really appreciated it so much!

Wonderful NEWS for all ASL deaf people…hope the world will stop listen to AGB. Deaf children should be in DEAF school, not mainstream. Hope all state education will understand and send all deaf children to Deaf school. Need more deaf teachers, deaf social workers, deaf counselors, etc.

[…] the International Congress on the Education of the Deaf booted the Milan 1880 resolutions. The Deaf World As Eye See It blog has all the juicy […]

Greetings Amy Coehn Efron,

Just for your information, ICED DID NOT give a formal apology YET…

This rumors were not true.

Thank you and Let Freedom Roll!
Ruthie on behalf of AFA


ICED made a formal statement during the opening ceremony that apology was stated. If you are talking about formal apology in writing. It is in process as I understand. Once an organization or an entity made an apology in public, it is OUR responsibility to make sure they are accountable with what they said. No where in my blog states about the written apology was produced.

Rumors or not, it was tweeted by a person who was THERE to witnessed what it was stated.

Amy Cohen Efron

Hi Amy,

I would rather wait and see because I have not seen any formal letter from ICED directly. I will never accept any third party information at all. I am surprised that your blog has been posted without any verification (unless you already got it from ICED itself); however, it is still your right to post whatever you want. I hope the information you got is correct.

Hi Deaf Chipmunk,

I did not state a formal letter of apology. It was a formal statement during the opening ceremony. The person who tweeted was there to witness this event. Dr. Shilpa Hanumantha tweeted it. If you are interested with a tangible letter of apology, which I am also interested to see. Then it is our community’s responsibility (everyone in the world) to held ICED accountable to follow through the apology. Once it is ‘out’ then they cannot take it back.


[…] I heard of it. This evening, I looked at the DeafRead links on the right sidebar of my blog and saw a blog post by Amy Cohen Efron about the ICED apology along with an embedded vlog she posted on […]

Here’s what seems to be a more “official” account:


According to Dr. Joe McClaughlin who is a member of the organizing committee of the International Congress on the Education of the Deaf (ICED), the 1880 Milan resolutions have NOT been formally overturned today, despite rumors on the Internet to the contrary. Repeat, the 1880 Milan resolutions have NOT been formally overturned by ICED.

According to Dr. Joe McClaughlin: “Today’s ICED is not a formal organization. We do not pass resolutions. We do not vote on anything. We did make a statement today in partnership with the BC [British Columbia] Deaf community–a statement of principle, and are accepting signatures, saying we regret the Milan 1880 resolutions banning sign language. Yes, we did that….. What we’re doing is we’re starting a dialogue–starting a process–and we’re saying: ‘What are we going to do from here on in?’… We are planning to have a press release with two documents, Part A and Part B. We will be posting it on our website as soon as possible—We are still presenting the document today and tonight to the participants of the conference and the members of the larger community.”

According to Dr. McClaughlin, there are 12 members of the organizing committee for this ICED conference. A subcommittee of those 12, composed of 3 members, has joined with 3 members from the British Columbia Deaf community to form a group of six people. The group of six people has no name. That group of six people organized the writing of the document and that document is now being presented, today and tonight, to the conference participants for their signature. The document is not a formal resolutions, and it does not contain any formal resolutions, but is only a “letter” to be signed by the conference participants who chose to sign and, and members of the larger community.

Dr. McClaughlin states that the letter will be posted on the conference website as soon as possible, not today, but possibly tomorrow or Wednesday. The website URL is:

Don G.,

Please cite the source from this ‘official account’ from Dr. Joseph McLaughlin. Not McClaughlin. Who is the author of this?

Thank you,
Amy Cohen Efron

I think it would be wiser to have ICED to have a formal letter to the whole world and still contact the Newspapers all over the U.S. or world.
To make apology for forcing all Deaf school to use oralism. I suffered enough with this oralism only. Should use all Total communication including American Sign Language. If the ICED made a decision long time ago, then it is time to do it with American Sign Language. You have the right to disagree with me.

The fact that they’re waiting until the very end of the conference to give us official word does not leave me hopeful that this is anything but yet another partial measure, falling far short of what they are actually ABLE to do. Seems like they only want to “open the discussion” yet again, when we have already BEEN discussing it all along. Time NOT to let them off the hook on this as you are doing by celebrating early.

It seems to me that somebody needs to formally propose a resolution, in session, that the 1880 ban be rescinded.

Then an apology might be able to be considered as being both more formal and more sincere.

– Linda

Amy, the source for this account was Brian Riley. But as you note, the “Grumpy Old Deafies” seems to contradict Brian. Since we are getting multiple conflicting reports and interpretations, it seems the best thing is to wait for an official statement from ICED itself. I do hope the ICED’s statement DOES offer an apology.

Barry aka theholism – Wow, you are indeed a bitter man. You always have to leave negative comments under every post. We wonder why Tayler has not banned you. I hope every blogger and vlogger will learn to ban you from their personal websites. I don’t visit DeafRead because of people like you.

Amy, formal or no formal letter, we still should celebrate!

Got this from the horse’s mouth…so it is legit!

So, 19. July 2010 is one of the most important dates in Deaf history! Now, …it is up to us to ensure the Deaf Renaissance is firing on all of its cylinders and continuing on the yellow brick road to the Deaf emanicaption and Deaf rapture forever.

[…] advocate Amy Cohen Efron says on her blog, “I applaud the conference organizers and community advocates working together to make this […]

i am bit puzzled about the “apology’ word as i was told by a bird that the ‘apology’ word was not mentioned at the Conference. All I learned the dialogue is on going until the official word of “rejection” on the Milan conference’s resolution has been accepted, probably in 2015 in Greece. Let’s wait until we get “official” apology word thru the publication release by the ICED.
Congratulations go to Dr. Joseph McLaughlin for his “wise” comment or explanations in regard to the “formal apology” word.
thanks … keith

I am shouting! Cheers and there more to come! The “pah~s” comes more!

Bonjour à tous 🙂
Tout d’abord ! Enfin ! Depuis longtemps nous avons déjà attendus longuement ! Pour dire : Grand pardon notre communauté des Sourds et Milano 1880. Je dis quand même grand félicitation par cette personne nous a dit : Pardon pour la Langue des Signes dans le Monde… Je suis ému pour les grands hommages des Sourds vers le ciel 🙂 C’était la grande faute des écoles spécialités des Sourds par les Oralismes qui sont très responsabilités dans sa vie éternelle !
Savez vous ! Ce n’est pas la faute en Italie c’était le grand responsabilité c’est la France !!! En 1878, le 1er congrès c’est à Paris = échec par la communauté des Sourds ont été révoltés = BRAVO ! et en 1879 (Un an plus tard) encore la 2ème congrès c’est à Lyon = c’est raté ! Encore un an plus tard c’est la 3ème congrès c’est à Milan en Italie avec le curé Tara, très catholique, il ne souhaite pas la Langue des Signes = ce n’est pas bien pour montrer au Dieu… Il préfère parler comme les oralismes… C’était très influence dans les écoles spécialités des Sourds veulent “Interdit la Langue des Signes” et aussi LE GRAND RESPONSABILITE C’EST LE MINISTERE DE L’INTERIEUR EN FRANCE… C’est la HONTE ! Notre communauté des Sourds de France veulent réclamation l’un ou l’autre Ministère de l’Intérieur de France doit nous dire aussi “Grand Pardon” Alors révoltez nous dès maintenant ! Merci repoussez notre avenir communauté des Sourds dans le Monde entier 🙂

Encore une fois ! Je vous informe un Sourd s’appelle Yann Cantin, Française, il a eu son diplôme Histoire des Sourds. C’est lui, il m’a tout parlé affaire “Milano 1880” oh c’est top IMPORTANT ! Je souhaite qu’il pourra faire un livre et le DVD sur Milano 1880 et la France… Bien sûr ! Nous devrons aider à Yann Cantin… Il ne pourra pas être tout seul ! Bonne chance et à l’avenir… ANTI LES MEDECINS THEME LES OREILLES ENTRE NOTRE MONDE SOURD = N’IMPORTE DE QUOI ! CA SUFFIT ! SINON, LES MEDECINS DOIVENT S’APPRENDRE LA LANGUE DES SIGNES à point !

Has an apology been delivered? I do hear of the action at this ICED conference. A formal apology must be delivered. If it has been done, provide me the link. Thanks!

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