Institut National des Jeunes Aveugles
Institut National des Jeunes Aveugles, (National Institute for Blind Children or Royal Institution for Blind Youth), in Paris, was the first special school for blind students in the world, and served as a model for many subsequent schools for blind students.
The INJA was created in 1784 by Valentin Haüy.
It was not until the late 18th century that society began to take an interest in the education of the blind. Until that time they were considered mostly uneducable and untrainable. One of the major figures in the movement to educate the blind was Sébastien Guillié. He established the first ophthalmological clinic in France and became director of the school in Paris.
In 1816, the school moved into a former prison that was used during the French Revolution. Although it was better than its previous location, the building was cold, poorly lit, and unsanitary. Louis Braille, the inventor of the braille system, attended the school in 1819 and later taught there. At the time Braille attended, students bathed just once a month (there was only one bathroom), the meals were of poor quality, and strict rules brought harsh punishments. But many different subjects, like grammar, music, history, and science, were taught there.
In 1843, the institute moved into a new, bigger building.
The first organ class for blind students was established at the institute in 1826, and, by 1833, no fewer than fourteen blind students held organist positions in the churches of Paris. The institute continued to produce large number of successful organists, such as André Marchal, Jean Langlais, and Gaston Litaize.
Effect on other schools
- "Arrival at the Institute for Blind Youth". www.afb.org. Retrieved 2015-08-22.
- Jean Langlais: The Man and his Music, Ann Labounsky 2000, pages 30-47
- Louis Braille: A Touch of Genius, C. Michael Mellor, National Braille Press, 2006. Includes sections on Valentin Haüy, Institution Royale des Jeunes Aveugles, Sébastien Guillié, and of course Louis Braille.