Rudolf Steiner (1861-1926) had his first encounter with disability as a child: His brother Gustav, born 1866 in Pottschach, was deaf. His father managed a station there along the Semmering Railway. A hydrocephalic man of about 30 years often came on crutches to watch the arrival of the trains. He liked to talk to Rudolf, who was 5 years old at that time.
In 1884, when Rudolf Steiner was studying in Vienna, he financed his studies by serving as a tutor for the Specht family. He was entrusted with the education of Otto, who suffered from hydrocephalus, and was thus considered "unfit for school." Under Steiner's guidance, Otto made such great progress that he was eventually able to attend elementary school, then went on to secondary school. After graduating, he went on to study medicine. He became a specialist in dermatology.
I must needs feel grateful to Fate for having brought me into such a life relationship. For through this means I developed in vital fashion a knowledge of the being of man which I do not believe could have been developed by me so vitally in any other way.
(R. Steiner, The Story of My Life))
From his student days in Vienna on, Steiner was preoccupied with the question of the connection between the mind, soul, and body.