Jean Marc Gaspard Itard (April 24, 1774, Oraison, Alpes-de-Haute-Provence – July 5, 1838, Paris) was a French physician born in Provence.  Without a university education and working at a bank, he was forced to enter the army during the French Revolution but presented himself as a physician at that time.  After successfully working as an assistant physician at a military hospital in Soliers, in 1796 he was appointed deputy surgeon at Val-de-Grace (Hopital d’instruction des armees du Val-de-Grace) military hospital in Paris, and in 1799 physician at the National Institution for Deaf Mutes.
In Paris, Itard was a student of distinguished physician Rene Laennec, inventor of the stethoscope (in 1816). Laennec was a few years younger but had a formal education at the university at Nantes and later became a lecturer and professor of medicine at the College de France. Itard described pneumothorax in 1803; Laennec would provide a fuller description of the condition in 1819. In 1821, Itard published a major work on otology, describing the results of his medical research based on over 170 detailed cases. He is credited with the invention of an Eustachian catheter that is referred to as “Itard’s catheter”.
Numbness in the tympanic membrane during otosclerosis has the eponymous name of “Itard-Cholewa Symptom”.  In 1825, as the head physician at L’Institution Royale des sourds-muets, Itard was credited with describing the first case of Tourette syndrome in Marquise de Dampierre, a woman of nobility.  He is known as an educator of Deaf-Mutes, and tried his educational theories in the celebrated case of Victor of Aveyron, dramatized in the 1970 motion picture The Wild Child by Francois Truffaut. However, he was disappointed with the progress he made with Victor.
Itard was known to conduct experiments on the Deaf students of the Saint-Jaques school in Paris in useless attempts to restore their hearing, including delivering electrical shocks, leech therapy, ear surgeries, and various types of internal and external medicine applications. http://www. acsu. buffalo. edu/ Jean Itard was a French physician and educator. He was best known for his teaching of Victor, a young boy who was found in the woods. His book: Victor: the Wild Boy of Aveyron (1801, 1806) became a classic that has survived the ages.
Itard made other contributions the history of speech pathology: He was considered to be a founder of otology because of his work on diseases of the ear He was among the first to treat stuttering as a physiological problem He was among the first special educators He influenced the work of his pupil, Dr. Eduard Seguin, who in turn influenced Maria Montessori Itard was born in Oraiston, Provence, France on April 24, 1775. To avoid conscription in the French army, when it was at war with the countries of Europe, Itard enlisted as an assistant surgeon in a military hospital.
He decided to study medicine and became a physician. He took a position at the Institution for Deaf mutes in Paris, where he began studying the anatomical bases of speech and hearing. In 1817, Itard published a treatise on stuttering. In it he treated stuttering as a physiological symptom and saw it as being caused by a problem with the nerves associated with the movements of the larynx and tongue. His therapy consisted of gymnastics of the organs of speech. He used a golden or ivory fork, placed in the cavity of the alveolar arch of the lower jaw, for the purpose of supporting the tongue.
Shortly after he started his job, Itard was asked to work with a young 10 year boy, who was found in the wild. There was, at the beginning of the 18th century, considerable interest in “unsocialized children,” because they were seen as a natural experiment showing the relative impact of environment on learning. Rousseau considered the infant to be an “uncivilized child” and as inherently good. Civilization and the desire for property was what created avarice and was what corrupted the morals of this “noble savage.
” The issue raised by Rousseau offered Itard the intellectual context to accept the challenge of civilizing Victor, the “wild boy of Aveyron. ” Itard presumed any child could be taught anything, following the radical empiricist philosophical position of the philosopher Condillac. His goals for Victor were the following (in his own words): 1st aim: To interest him in social life by rendering it more pleasant for him than the one he was then leading, and above all more like the life he had just left. 2nd aim: To awaken his nervous sensibility by the most energetic stimulation, and occasionally by intense emotion.
To extend the range of his ideas by giving him new needs and by increasing his social contacts. 4th aim: To lead him to the use of speech by subjecting him to the necessity of imitation. 5th aim: To make him exercise the simplest mental operations, first concerning objects of his physical needs and later the objects of instruction. Itard’s methods included the following: 1 – interest in social life: “Treat him kindly and to exercise great consideration for his tastes and inclinations” (Itard, 1962 p. 11).
He had knowledge of four things: sleeping, eating, doing nothing and running about the fields. Itard allowed him his pleasures, but gradually lessened the time spent in them. At first he and Victor’s caregiver Madame Guerin, took Victor on rural excursions. Then they did so less frequently. They allowed him eating pleasures, but meals were made less often and less plentiful. They gave him less sleep time, and more instructional time decreasing the time given to his favorite activities of sleeping and doing nothing.
Victor was impervious to severe weather, the effects of fire (picked up coals or potatoes and held them, ate burning hot potatoes), was impervious to strong smells, never cried, didn’t respond to loud sound. Itard’s approach was to “prepare the mind for attention by preparing the senses to receive keener impressions” (p. 16). Itard clothed Victor, provided warm housing, gave him hot baths lasting 2-3 hours/day, used dry frictions (rubs) after bath, administered shock and elicited joy and anger from him.
Victor wasn’t interested in the toys that Itard introduced to him, but he did increase his interest in “amusements which had connection with his appetite for food. ” He took Victor to a restaurant and ordered Victor’s favorite foods there. 4 – speech through imitation: Itard held a glass of water in front of Victor saying “eau, eau” (this was a sound that Victor has shown an interest in previously). When Victor did not respond by saying the sound, Itard gave the glass to someone else who had imitated the sound.
Development and use of mental operations: Itard first used a picture-object matching method developed by Sicard for children who were deaf. Itard pointed to a picture and asked Victor to either bring him the associated object or hang the associated object on a nail below its picture. After this, Itard associated the written word with the picture, asking Victor to bring him the object, followed by a task in which the drawing is omitted and the match is between word and object. Itard used games to to increase Victor’s memory, intention and interests.
For example, he hid a chestnut under one of three cups and signaled to Victor to find the nut. Another task that Itard used with Victor, one he borrowed from Sicard, was a shape-matching task in which papers of a particular color and shape were first matched with based on both color and shape and then just based on shape. Then Itard proceeded to a task involving matching letters of the alphabet. This was followed by a task involving a spelled word (milk) that was required when requesting the desired object (Itard, p. 47). http://teacherlink. ed. usu. edu/
Jean-Marc-Gaspard Itard was a French physician who was an authority on diseases of the ear and on the education of students who were deaf. Itard is the person to whom most historians trace the beginning of special education as we know it today. In the early years of the nineteenth century, this young doctor began to educate a boy of about twelve who had been roaming naked in the forests of France. Itard’s mentor, Philippe Pinel, a prominent French physician who was an early advocate of humane treatment of insane persons, advised him that his efforts would be unsuccessful because the boy, Victor, was a “hopeless idiot.
But Itard persevered. He did not eliminate Victor’s disabilities, but he did dramatically improve the wild child’s behavior through patience and educative procedures. A student of Itard’s, Edouard Seguin, immigrated to the United States in 1848. Seguin had become famous as an educator of “idiotic children,” even though most thinkers of the day were convinced that such children could not be taught anything of significance. The ideas of the first special educators were truly revolutionary for their time. Some of the revolutionary ideas of Itard, Seguin, and their successors that formed the foundation for present-day special education are:
Individualized instruction- the child’s characteristics, rather that prescribed academic content, provide the basis for teaching techniques · A carefully sequenced series of educational tasks- beginning with tasks the child can perform and gradually leading to more difficult learning · Emphasis on stimulation and awakening of the child’s senses- help the child become more aware of and responsive to educational stimuli · Meticulous arrangement of the child’s environment- the environment and the child’s experience lead naturally to learning
Immediate reward for correct performance- providing reinforcement for desirable behavior · Tutoring in functional skills- to help the child be self sufficient and productive in everyday life · Belief that every child should be educated to the greatest extent possible- every child can improve to some degree One of the major investigators of Itard’s life and work with Victor in particular, summarizes Itard’s contributions as the inventor of behavior modification· creator of oral education for the deaf, and father of special education for the mentally and physically handicapped.
Today Itard is recognised as one of the founding fathers of special education. He became the first person to develop a student centered approach within his curriculum that emphasized the individual child. His work with Victor known as “The Wild Boy of Aveyron” earned Itard an international reputation. Itard was born in the small town of Oraison in Provence, a province in southeastern France, in 1774. He was later educated to become a tradesman, but during the French Revolution he joined the army and became an assistant surgeon at a military hospital in Toulon.
He had no scientific training and received his medical education “on the job”. He demonstrated considerable talent for medicine, and in 1796 he began a formal surgical internship in Paris. In 1800 he was appointed Chief Physician at the National Institution for Deaf-Mutes in Paris. His accomplishments in this capacity were numerous: He wrote a seminal book on diseases of the ear, invented a eustachian catheter (now known as “Itard’s Catheter”) and devised several new methods for educating and treating the deaf.
Itard’s involvement with Victor, the Wild Boy of Aveyron led to new breakthroughs in the field of child development and education. In 1799, the wild boy was discovered in a wood in southern France. It appears that he was abandoned by his parents. He was considered to be about eleven to twelve years of age. The boy was taken into care in the nearby village. Because residents had reported seeing a young, naked boy in the woods five years earlier, it was presumed that he had survived by eating what he could find. The boy later escaped only to be found the following year.
An official suggested that the boy was taken to Paris where he could be studied as an example of the human mind in its primitive state. In fact he was not found to be wild at all. Itard believed that the boy’s mental deficiency was entirely due to a lack of human interaction and that this could be overcome. He brought the boy who he named Victor to The National Institution for Deaf Mutes and devoted the next five years to an intensive, individualized educational programme. This was the first example of an IEP and the beginning of modern special education.
Itard had been influenced by the philosopher John Locke who maintained that ‘the mind is an empty vessel waiting to be filled’. Locke believed that all knowledge comes through the senses. Victor’s eyesight and hearing were normal but his responses to sensory input were often sluggish or non existent. He was unable to speak. Itard reasoned that Victor could not learn effectively until he became more attuned to his environment. As a result, his educational approach relied heavily on sensory training and stimulation.
Itard’s goals were to interest Victor in a social life, improve his awareness of environmental stimuli, introduce him to ideas through games, culture etc and to teach him to speak and communicate through pictures and the written word. Itard was also very much concerned about Victor’s language development which was thought to be the key to becoming a civilized human being. Victor improved but he never approached ‘normalcy’. After 5 years he could read and speak a few words, demonstrate some affection for his caregivers and carry out simple commands.
The most important factor was that Itard actually tried to help Victor during a time when it was thought that children with ‘mental’ problems were unable to learn. As a result of Itard’s work, it became clear that there are critical periods in the child’s development when he/she is particularly attuned to learning or developing a skill. Whatever socialization Victor got through those years, it was not much. This lack of interaction affected his relationships with others. He was unable to learn to speak many words although his written communications improved more than his speech.
The lack of experiences in his early developmental phases limited Victor’s progress in later childhood. Through his work, Itard was the first physician to claim that an enriched environment could compensate for developmental delays caused by heredity or previous deprivation. Up until this point it had been assumed that mentally retarded people could not be educated. Itard’s work with Victor did away with the sense of hopelessness and inertia that kept the medical profession and anyone else from trying to do anything constructive for children and adults with special needs.
Itard’s influences in education were seen in the works of his student Eduard Seguin. Seguin improved and expanded his teacher’s sensory-training approach. Maria Montessori developed her method by adopting Seguin’s educational approach through sensory education. It is through the Montessori approach to education that Itard has had an impact on thousands of school children all over the world. http://www. whonamedit. com/ Jean Marc Gaspard Itard entered his medical career in a somewhat unusual way. He was educated to be a tradesman and got a position at a bank.
However, during the French Revolution he had to leave this comfortable position to join the army and presented himself as a physician. He was thus employed as an assistant physician to a military hospital in Soliers. Thanks to his brilliance, hard work and his quickly aroused enthusiasm he was able to acquire the knowledge necessary to make him a skilled operator. Back in Paris Itard remained faithful to his new profession and held positions at various hospitals. He was 1796 he was appointed Chirurgien aide-major at Val de Grace in Paris and from 1799 physician at the National Institution for Deaf Mutes.
From this time on he concerned himself with the hearing organ and its diseases, investigations that was to spread his name all over Europe Otology owes to him the invention and improvement of several surgical instruments and techniques, as well as the design of hearing aids for people with impaired hearing. Among his pioneering achievements were the invention of the Eustachian catheter (Itard’s catheter) Into the wild In 1799 three French sportsmen were exploring a wood in southern France when they came upon a young boy.
They guessed that he was eleven or twelve years old, and he was filthy, naked, and covered with scars. The boy ran from them, but he was caught when he stopped to climb a tree. The sportsmen brought him to a nearby village and gave him over into the care of a widow. As the story of his capture spread, local residents began reporting that a young naked boy had been seen in the woods five years earlier. It was presumed that he had lived alone for many years, and that he had survived by eating whatever he could find or catch.
The boy escaped from the widow, and spent the next winter roaming the woods alone. He was eventually recaptured and placed in safe custodial care. An official in the French government heard about him, and suggested that he be taken to Paris where he could be studied as an example of the human mind in its primitive state. However, the prominent Parisian physicians who examined him declared that he was not “wild” at all; their collective opinion was that the boy was mentally deficient, and that he had been recently abandoned by his parents.
The famous psychiatrist Philippe Pinel (1745-1826) put it succinctly when he said that the boy was in fact “an incurable idiot”. Itard disagreed. He believed that the boy had survived alone in the woods for at least seven years, citing as evidence his “profound aversion to society, its customs, and its artifacts” (Itard, 1801/1962). He asserted that his apparent mental deficiency was entirely due to a lack of human interaction. Moreover, he believed that this could be overcome.
He brought the boy-whom he eventually named “Victor”–to The National Institution for Deaf-Mutes, and devoted the next five years to an intensive, individualized educational program. This was the beginning of modern special education Under Itard’s tutoring Victor improved, but he never approached normalcy. After five years he could read and speak a few words, demonstrated affection for his caretakers, and could carry out simple commands. However, Itard was disappointed in this lack of progress. Besides otology he also took an interest in other medical problems; we thus have works on stuttering, dropsy, etc.
Itard also proved his literary talent as editor of several medical journals. His most important work on otology appeared in Paris in 1821. It contains the results of his scientific research based on more than 172 detailed case stories. His reputation suffered somewhat, however, because he was not able to teach a retarded boy, whom he had taken on, to speech. This boy, called Victor of Aveyron, literary known as the «Sauvage de l’Aveyron», he picked up naked from the street, but was unable to give him the ability to speak.
In his will he left the Paris institute for the deaf and mute a substantial fortune – 160. 000 francs, and instituted a prize which was to be awarded every three years at the Academy of Medicine for the best work in practical medicine or therapy. Itard was from 1816 co-editor of the Journal universel des sciences medicales, Paris, from 1822 of the Revue medical and from 1832 of the Dictionnaire de medecine ou repertoire generale des sciences medicales sous le rapport theorique et pratique