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ward accordingly. The program is planned with the assistance of the supervisory staff of the Bureau for Children with Retarded Mental Development and consists of experiences in social living, personal adjustment, and habit training. Only minor consideration is given to the so-called academic learnings. However, oppor. tunities for the recognition of simple words, phrases, and directions, and the use of numbers are offered to the more capable pupils. Classes are restricted to an enroll. ment of 18 pupils.

Detroit, Mich.—The Detroit "pre-special" classes have also been maintained over a period of many years. However, the criterion for assignment to these classes is on a mental age rather than an IQ basis. Only children whose mental ages are under 5 years may be admitted to pre-special classes. Of the 89 children enrolled in the 6 classes now maintained, 35 (about 40 percent) are in the IQ ranges below 50 or have received "deferred” diagnosis. A deferred diagnosis is usually indicative of an intellectual measurement below the accepted standard for special class place. ment, but nonintellectual factors have caused the psychologist to reserve judgment relative to the pupil's actual potential. During the period of pre-special class placement, it is possible to observe the pupil's developmental progress and arrive at more adequate conclusions regarding his intellectual ability.

The Detroit classes provide for children between the ages of 5 and 13. At the age of 13 the progress of pupils is evaluated by the psychologist and the teacher. Those indicating sufficient growth are promoted to a regular special class for mentally retarded pupils while those indicating insufficient ability for progress in the regular special classes are excused from further attendance. For the severely retarded child these groups provide a "proving ground” for observation and trial placement up to the adolescent years.

In some classes the children are divided into beginning and advanced groups and attend only a half day. Such classes may enroll up to 20 pupils. The beginning group has the smaller enrollment. Classroom activities include those designed to further personal adjustment, habit training, social experiences, rhythmic games, speech development, and beginning reading and number work for those capable of doing academic work. Pre-special classes are located in regular elementary school buildings.


Courtesy, Houston, Tex., Public Schools The classroom must be equipped for many kinds of simple craft work.

Houston, Tex.—The Houston classes for severely mentally retarded pupils are provided for children who are between the ages of 6 and 12, whose IQ's are under 50, and whose mental ages are between 2 and 5. The applicant must be continent and able to respond to simple directions group. All pupils are admitted on a trial basis. In cases of doubt as to the trainability of the applicant, a trial in the class is given. The teacher in charge has had training in the teaching of the mentally retarded and in the teaching of children of nursery school ages.

The chief objectives of these two classes are to provide opportunity, through selected activities, for these youngsters to grow to their maximum potentials in ability to help themselves in the routine activities of daily living to live happily with other children and adults and to communicate with others. Emphasis is also given to the development of the motor skills and to the stimulation of intellectual activity through such media as simple stories and dramatizations, limited excursions, and conversation about the significant happenings in the child's immediate en

vironment. Classes for severely retarded children, maintained by public schools in cooperation with parent associations, are found in a number of communities, Cincinnati, Ohio, and Berwyn, Il., have included such groups as units of their general school program.

Cincinnati, Ohio.The Cincinnati Public Schools have a rather extensive program for educable mentally retarded children. In addition, an "experimental class” enrolls 15 children (ages 10 to 15) with IQ's ranging between 40 and 50. This class is not reimbursable under State regulations for slow-learning retarded children.

The class meets from 9:20 to 2:30 with a rest period of 1 hour and a noon lunch period which is regarded as a part of the training program. Classroom activities are quite similar to those provided in New York City, Detroit, and Houston, with major emphasis being placed upon social living and personal adjustment. Some small amount of experience is provided in simple reading and number work.

The operation of the Cincinnati class is supported by public-school funds, supplemented by a substantial amount provided by the Hamilton County Council for Retarded Children. In addition, a contribution for diagnostic and counseling services is received from the local Jewish Vocational Service. The parents of the children enrolled in the class meet once each month as a group, and the teacher schedules individual conferences with parents twice each school year.

Berwyn, II.-During the summer of 1950 a parents' association of the Berwyn, I., area established a class for severely retarded children in rooms rented from a local church. At the beginning of the school year this project was taken over by the Berwyn school district, and at present two groups of children who are drawn from several contributing districts are provided for. The classes continue to meet in rented church quarters. IQ's of the class members range from 30 to 50, the only qualification for membership being the pupil's ability to communicate and to care for his own physical needs. Interested service clubs assist in the provision of equipment; the parents' organization pays for the rental of the quarters; but the local schools contribute teaching, psychological, and supervisory services and

teaching aids. Public schools have also contributed toward the organization and maintenance of parent-initiated and controlled classes. In these instances the schools provide some assistance to the parent groups which assume the major obligations for the operation of classes. In Milwaukee, Wis., a parents' organization class occupies two rooms of a community house owned by the board of education. One room is devoted to classroom activities for nine severely retarded children. The other is reserved for the use of parents who meet regularly each morning while the class is in session. All operational expenses other than the rental of space is obtained from the fees charged to parents of the enrollees.

Variations of the plans described might be multiplied many times. It is obvious that many public schools have made successful attempts to deal with the education and training of severely mentally retarded children.

Nevertheless, not all public-school provisions for severely retarded children have been successful. Both Cleveland and Toledo, Ohio, report that classes for severely mentally retarded children were discontinued for various reasons. In Cleveland one contributing factor was poor attendance of the pupils, while in Toledo problems of securing a qualified teacher, suitable space, and the extremely high costs involved entered into the decision to discontinue the program. However, the Cleveland experiment was partially successful insofar as it indicated the desirability of relaxing admission standards for placement in the regular special classes for slowlearning pupils.

It would be unrealistic to accept the point of view that the training of severely retarded children can be undertaken only by the public schools. In the State of Ohio recent legislation has placed the responsibility for this program upon the Department of Public Welfare; in New Jersey a program of home instruction and parent education is successfully maintained by the State Department of Institutions and Agencies. Nevertheless, it is possible that even when plans similar to those described above have been developed the public schools also may participate in the training program. In discussing the New Jersey program, Cianci 23 states:

home training cannot be the complete answer to the problem of mental de. ficiency. The communities must be aroused to an awareness of the needs and rights of these children and must provide classes or day centers for children of

school age.

A recent interpretation of the Ohio legislation by the Attorney-General of that State indicates that public-school units may be reimbursed by Department of Welfare funds, while in New Jersey the parents' organizations are seeking a review of the various laws pertaining to handicapped persons in order that the schools and other agencies may work together for the welfare of all handicapped children. Several New Jersey school districts are already maintaining classes for severely handicapped children.

23 Cianci, Vincentz. Home Training for Retarded Children. Training School Bulletin, November 1951.

p. 139.

Schools Need To Know About Parent Associations

and Their Activities

Much of the impetus for extending special education services to severely retarded children has come from the activities of associations of parents of retarded children. These organizations are composed largely of the fathers and mothers of children who have been excluded from existing publicschool services, but their membership may also include parents of less severely retarded pupils who are now enrolled in special classes, as well as interested professional and lay citizens. Some of the parent groups are associated with institutional schools and are primarily interested in the improvement of institutional programs.

In August 1950 organized parent associations enrolled more than 19,300 dues-paying members in 88 local associations located in 19 States. Many of them are affiliated with the National Association for Retarded Children. A report prepared by Woodhull Hay, 24 Secretary of the Association, states that the first parent association for retarded children was organized in 1931, but until 1942 only a few such groups had been formed. Most of the organizational activity has occurred since 1945, nearly 20 new associations appearing during the first 6 months of 1950. Representatives of a large number of parent organizations met in Minneapolis during the summer of 1950, at which time the national association was formed. At the 1951 convention in Grand Rapids, Mich., steps were taken to maintain a national secretariat.

The purposes of the parent organizations go beyond the extension of special education services for the severely mentally retarded. Improve. ment in clinical, recreational, employment, research, and institutional facilities are also concerns of the association. While improvement of the welfare of the more severely mentally retarded is one of the chief objectives of the parents' organizations, most of the associations have stated their interest in the education of all mentally retarded children, 25 and a few extend their scope to include the physically handicapped.

The parents' "movement” has had its origin in a complex of related and unrelated factors. One of these has to do with overcrowding conditions in institutional schools. Nearly all State-maintained institutional schools for the mentally retarded are greatly overpopulated and have long waiting lists of applicants. As a result, parents and local communities have been urged to assume the responsibility of caring for their own mentally retarded children. An additional argument for home and community care is the factor of relative costs. Custodial care may involve per pupil costs exceeding $1,000 annually, while local special education services may be maintained for considerably less. Private school placements are even more costly and can be made only by parents in the upper income brackets.

34 Hay, Woodhull. Associations of Parents of the Mentally Retarded: Summary of a Survey. New York, Association for the Help of Retarded Children, Inc., 1950. Mimeo. p. 3.

2 The Texas associations were recently instrumental in obtaining passage of a bill providing special eduration for educable mentally retarded children.

. Into the more practical considerations of space and costs there have also been injected a number of more subjective arguments in favor of home care and public-school facilities for severely retarded children. Perhaps some of these stem from favorable reports relative to the improvement of mentally retarded children through medical, psychological, and educational services. Despite the doubts expressed relative to the implications of some of the current research, considerable interest is still evident in the thesis that, under optimum conditions, intellectual abilities can be substantially improved.

However, it is probable that much of the current preference for home and community care is undoubtedly a reflection of the age-old reluctance of many parents to relinquish their children. This reluctance is usually legally approved if the child presents no social problems in the community, and it is sanctioned by some critics of institutional placement who are concerned about the effect of voluntary placements upon the personal adjustment of the parents and families of institutionalized children.

Perhaps the zeal of many members of parent associations for the establishment of public school facilities for severely retarded children cannot be understood fully unless their feelings of rejection by teachers and school administrators are taken into account. In many instances parents complain that exclusions from schools have been accompanied by unsympathetic counseling or that children have been dismissed summarily from attendance. A large number of these complaints may be overdrawn, for many school systems have accepted considerable responsibility for parent counseling and guidance. Requests for withdrawal from school are frequently accompanied by the counseling of school psychologists and visiting teachers. Nevertheless, it may be quite true that in some instances such services have been unavailable or that conflicts have developed between the parents of excluded children and school officials. While these are not arguments for the establishment of public-school training classes, they have undoubtedly added zest to the campaign for school services for severely retarded children.

Most parent associations for the mentally retarded sponsor and maintain projects that are only remotely related to day-school programs. Chief among these are the opportunities for parents of retarded children to "talk

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