Edouard Séguin

Der französische Arzt und Pädagoge Edouard Séguin (1812-1880)
the French physician and paedagogue Edouard Séguin (1812-1880)
Edouard Séguin (* 12. January 1812 in Clamecy/Nièvre; † 28. October 1880 in New York) was a French physician and paedagogue and is considered as a founder of a scientific-systematic Geistigbehindertenpädagogik.


born to 12. January 1812 as a son of an outstanding physician family, studies Séguin after conclusion of the school medicine. Important impulses for its further career/development proceed thereby from Jean Itard , who arouses the interest in the instruction and education of mentally handicapped children in it. Itards methods and didactical materials will develop Séguin further later to complete educating teachings.

Its first instruction attempts Séguin makes starting from 1837 as a teacher in the department for idiots for that Paris lunatic asylum Bicêtre. 1840 it creates the first private school for mental-obstructed in Paris, which it finances by its literary work. Séguin belongs to the circle of the Saint Simonisten , among whose members under others the writer Victor Hugo ranks, with which it is also in a friendly manner connected.

As result of its educational experiences 1846 appear the first systematic text book for the education of mentally handicapped children: Traitement moral, hygiène et éducation idiots. (Paris: J.B. Balliere), no more difference in principle makes between handicapped and non-disabled children.

Political conditions after the failed revolution of 1848 force to emigrieren Séguin, which in the time of the revolutionary Vormärz actively on political calls took part for the defense of the republic, in the year 1850 from France into the USA. There it establishes itself first in Cleveland/Ohio as a physician. it makes acquaintance with Hervey B. for 1852. Wilbur, which creates the first idiot school in New York supported by Séguin 1854. Likewise 1854 take over Séguin the line of the “Pennsylvania training School for Idiots”, which he delivers however - probably due to the heavy illness of his wife - soon again. 1860 it establishes itself as a physician in Mount Vernon, Washington. 1861 graduation to the Dr. med. 1862 become Séguin of members of the outstanding “American Medical Association”. 1863 move Séguin to New York, where he organizes the structure of the “School for Defectives” on Randall's Iceland.

Under the title Idiocy and its Treatment by the Physiological Method appears 1866 a completely revised version of its text book of 1846, which is published 1912 in shortened version by Salomon Krenberger on German. 1873 travel Séguin as a commissioner of the USA for the educating sector to Austria, where he visits the Viennese world exhibition, via which it 1875 a 137seitigen report published: Report on Education (Washington). 1876 are selected Séguin to the first president of the “Association OF Medical Officers OF American institution for Idiots and Feeble Minded person”.

Séguin dies to 28. October 1880 in New York.

Its ideas, which are guessed/advised already in Europe few decades after its emigration in oblivion, are again discovered around 1900 by the Italian lady doctor and Pädagogin Maria Montessori. Above all mediated by their work they exercise to today influence on the Pädagogik.


  • Dagmar Hänsel (1974): The “physiological education” of the weak-intimate. Freiburg i. Break. (Schulz).
  • Edouard Séguin (1846): Traitement moral, hygiène et éducation idiots. Paris (J. B. Balliere).
  • Edouard Séguin (1875): Report on Education. Vienna internationally Exhibition 1873. Washington.
  • Edouard Séguin (1912): The Idiotie and their treatment according to physiological method. Vienna (grasses).

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