CI 250 January 10, 2007
Jean Marc Itard
, Paris 1790, attempts to train Victor, “wild boy of Aveyron.”
This is considered the first effort in special education.
Victor was a boy about the age of 12. Who they thought was raised in the wild
with animals and Itard took him in trying to educate the man/civilize the man. He
had no social skills or language skills when first captured. Really only responded
to food and drink.
Itard believed the boy suffered cultural deprivation and used sensory stimulation
to teach a few minor skills and reduce “wild” behavior. Victor died at about age
, 1842, was responsible for the founding of the first school in
Paris for care and education of children with mental retardation.
Sequin, student of Itard migrated to the US, 1848, and initiated many programs
for children with mental retardation. Founder of the American Association for
Sequin stressed the importance of training and education with a hopeful and
Dr. Samuel Gridley Howe
, Mass., was a major influence in bringing about state
involvement in the education of the mentally retarded.
Howe became aware of the relationship between sensory loss and retardation.
Started classes for children with mental retardation at the Perkins School for the
Blind, Watertown, Mass., 1837.
Most remembered for his work with Laura Bridgeman who was both blind and
deaf. She was the first deaf-blind person to language. Influenced the education of
Helen Keller. (page 445 in text for more info)
Almshouses – 1820’s, were established for the destitute and poor, but became
“catchalls” for persons with disabilities and retardation. Dorthea Dix, 1843, was
influential in the closing of Almshouses.
Reform schools – mid 1830’s, were intended to be a “house of refuge” but
became harsh with brutal discipline. Emphasis was on proper brutal discipline.
Emphasis was on proper parental models of behavior, and separation from
breeding grounds of delinquency, like the city.
State hospital systems – later 1850s
Optimism to Pessimism
In the mid-1860’s, there was a mood of optimism regarding education of the
With the dramatic publication of
Origin of Species
, 1857, by Charles Darwin, the
hereditary or biological view of ability increased dramatically. This led to a very
negative view of educating persons with disabilities.