June 26 – REHABILITATION OF SOLDIERS (1915-1919)
REHABILITATION OF SOLDIERS (1915-1919)
Br. Perraud died on 26 June 1941 in Marseilles where he had headed the school for the deaf and for the blind. When he was put in charge of the school in 1920 (one year after the arrival of the Brothers) there were only 37 deaf on the rolls; in 1941 there were 120 It must be said that he did not spare himself to make the school a success. He knocked on all doors to obtain subsidies. In 1922 he decided that the pupils should take part in the colonial exhibition; the panel of judges awarded him a gold medal for his work on teaching; Br. Hirschauer, teacher of the blind, was also awarded a gold medal for his relief maps, and Br. Denjema was awarded a silver medal for the drawings exhibited. In May 1923 he set up an association of youth clubs to promote the intellectual and vocational training of the pupils. He gave lectures in various cities of the region. In 1932 a new building, whose plans he had drawn up, was officially opened. The year 1934 was a landmark year: for the first time a school run by the Brothers took in very young children. This new group was entrusted to the Sisters of the Cross from Strasburg whom the Brothers had met during a congress held there.
Br. Perraud came from Orleans where he had spent 25 years; it was there that during the 1914-1918 war he was appointed to rehabilitate deaf soldiers referred to him by the health authorities.. He published for them Precis de lecture sur les levres, a remarkably adaptation of the book which Br. Mederic had published in 1885. At that time, all the other schools for the deaf run by the Brothers, apart from the one at Toulouse, were turned into rehabilitation centres. La Persagotiere offered three courses: lip-reading, aural therapy, and speech therapy. Br. Guillaume Plane. was in charge of the first course, and he wrote for his pupils Cours de reeducation; Mr Bausson (formerly Br. Chrysogone) was in charge of the second, and Br. Coissard (Br. Benoit du Pont) of the third. A conference with demonstration was . held in July 1916; it was attended by 40 senior consultants from the region, and they confirmed the good results: for 73 soldiers rehabilitated between December 1915 and July 1917, and for 37 who recovered their hearing completely. At the same time, other teachers were looking after the blind soldiers, who were fewer than the deaf ones. In Bordeaux 100 deaf soldiers and 300 speech-impaired ones were cured. In Poitiers the courses for soldiers did not begin until 1917, after the return of Br. Douillard, the headmaster, who was released from his regiment to take charge of the courses.
These soldiers, either deaf or blind, were only a small percentage of the wounded accommodated in the schools for the deaf. The schools in Toulouse and Bordeaux were evacuated in 1917, and those in Poitiers and Nantes only in 1919. The school in Poitiers had devoted 96,431 days-equivalents to looking after wounded soldiers.