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‘Study of several involuntary functions of the apparatus of
movement, gripping, and voice’ by Jean-Marc Gaspard Itard (1825)
coprolalia feral child J. M. G. Itard movement disorder National Institute for Deaf-Mutes, Paris tic Tourette Syndrome
Itard's 1825 paper, written while he was Chief Physician at the National
Institute for Deaf-Mutes in Paris, demonstrates his empiricist approach to medicine.
That is, Itard founded his medical practice on sense and experience rather than on
surgery and medication. If all knowledge came through the senses, Itard reasoned,
those lacking knowledge or social abilities could be improved by appropriate sensory
stimulation. This concern with senses and society, along with his different
approaches to men and women, his references to contemporary cures and his
comparisons between humans and animals, document early nineteenth-century medical
and psychological attitudes and treatments. Itard's paper also contains
what was later recognized as the first clinical observation of Gilles de la Tourette
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