The first schools for deaf people were founded in Europe in the second half of the 18th century. As a result, discussion on teaching methods began. Finland’s first school for deaf people was founded in 1846, which also marked the emergence of a deaf community in Finland.
Initially, sign language was used for tuition until the educational ideals changed at the end of the 19th century and a method called oralism, in which oral language is used, was adopted. With sign language no longer used for teaching, it became a prohibited language, used by students secretly in schools. Until the 1970s, schools for the deaf were boarding schools where sign language, customs and traditions were passed on to new generations and a sense of community was created.
A switch to the use of sign language began in the 1970s, and studying sign language as the mother tongue was made possible in the 1990s. Today, sign language can also be studied in universities.
The development of the cochlear implant in the 21st century marked another significant change in deaf education. As a result, more children transferred to mainstream education.