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out” their problems—a form of parent self-counseling and education that apparently has proved very effective in resolving the problem and frustrations of many participants. Other projects include the promotion of medical research, recreational programs, and sheltered workshops. A number of local groups also produce regularly published papers and informational brochures. In several States local groups have combined forces to sponsor legislative action pertaining to institutional admissions policies, special education, and other aspects of the general welfare of retarded persons.
Despite their breadth of interests, parent organizations frequently have placed a major emphasis upon the promotion of day-school programs for more severely retarded children. In some communities parent associations have organized and operated classes independent of the local school system or other organized agencies. These classes are wholly supported by the parents of the children enrolled and the sponsoring parent associations.
In other instances the parent organizations have cooperated with the local public schools in order to obtain partial public support. Other parent associations have worked in conjunction with local welfare agencies. For example, in Chicago, 2 parent-sponsored classes meet in a community house, and partial support is received from the local Community Fund and a service club.
In several States parent associations have combined their efforts to introduce legislation at the State level that would encourage special education programs for mentally retarded pupils or which would add to the existing program facilities for severely retarded but trainable children. Recent legislation in Texas, adding educable mentally retarded children to the special education provisions of that State, was initiated and vigorously supported by parent organizations. In Wisconsin, parent groups, with the cooperation of professional and other interested lay persons, obtained the passage of a bill which adds the severely retarded to the special education program for mentally retarded children. This bill carried with it additional appropriations for the trainable group. Similar legislation extending special education to children incapable of profiting from the already established special classes was also successfully promoted in California, Pennsylvania, and Minnesota, while training facilities for the severely retarded were made a responsibility of the Department of Public Welfare in the State of Ohio.
What Is the Future of Special Education for the Severely Retarded in Public Schools?
Provisions for severely retarded children are already a part of publicschool special education programs in several States and cities. The extension of services probably will be delayed by administrative, fiscal, and personnel problems rather than by a lack of interest on the part of educators. It is true that questions regarding the responsibility for maintaining such programs have been and may continue to be raised. Nevertheless, publicschool services are growing in number, and educators are becoming increasingly interested in the welfare of severely retarded children.
Public-school programs of any type face three critical problems at present. These are (1) lack of space for rapidly expanding school populations; (2) financial pressures, because of a number of factors, including the increase in school enrollments; and (3) the unavailability of trained teachers, especially in certain fields of specialization. A new educational venture, involving high instructional costs and additional classroom space, can materialize only if the local community considers it important enough to finance and prepare for it.
Even more important in the delimitation of services will be the lack of available teaching personnel. Teachers for already established special education services are difficult to find; there are few, indeed, who are not already employed and who can meet the minimum requirements necessary for successful work with a group of severely retarded children.
There are several reasons why the situation as it concerns severely mentally retarded children is not as discouraging as it may appear. It is altogether probable that a slowly developing program may prove to be a stronger one in the long run. Gradual growth will allow more time for the planning of adequate facilities as well as for the training of teaching personnel. Then, too, the total program for severely retarded children is in an exploratory stage of development. What kind of learning experiences will be most satisfactory, how the school program can tie into other community services for retarded youth and their families, and the objectives to which school programs should be directed—all of these and many other questions that are now only poorly defined probably may be answered best by the outcomes of a limited number of pilot studies rather than through a rapidly expanding program.
It is probable that the degree of success of existing programs for severely retarded children is directly related to the adequacy of planning, preparation of teachers employed, and the type of facilities made available. The present classes in New York, Detroit, and several other cities have a background of many years of experience and experimentation, and the more recently formed groups in other school systems have been developed with the assistance of trained special education personnel under conditions that are favorable to successful services.
Some questions have been raised in regard to the effect of concentrated efforts in behalf of the severely retarded upon the total educational program for all retarded youth. A shift of emphasis to the more severely afflicted segment of the retarded child population might result in the neglect of the educable group, creating a situation which would be comparable to robbing Peter to pay Paul. It must be recognized that it is important to develop services for all mentally retarded children and that one aspect of the program cannot be established at the expense of the other. This again may argue for total program that must be planned wisely, and certainly not in haste, in which educational services for the more severely retarded evolve as a part of overall provisions.
PROGRAM SCHEDULE FOR SEGUIN THERAPY CLASS, SALEM
SCHOOL DEPARTMENT, SALEM, MASS. 1
1. Discussion of cleanliness and care of clothing when necessary
a. Lacing shoes
b. Removing and putting on clothing 5. Washing hands, combing hair
6. Attendance to toilets by pupils 9:30–9:45. Story telling and news items
1. Children report a sentence of or dramatize news
2. Story telling by teacher 9:45-10:00. Arts and crafts period
1. Crayon work, coloring, tracing, and cutting objects
2. Sand table, clay modeling 10:00-10:30. Academic period
1. Reading readiness, word play games, tracing letters and numbers 2. Recognizing numbers and counting
a. With use of beads and pegs
b. With use of balls and blocks
3. Puzzles and performance boards 10:30-10:45. Music and recreation
1. Classroom recreation
a. Rhythm band, using records for accompaniment
f. Sand table work
a. Marching and singing
| Furnished by William Earle, Supervisor, Special Classes and Special Services, Salem School Department.
Older children having at least 1 year of sub-special class may attend school for a longer period by increasing their industrial and recreation programs in the following manner: 12:15. A. Industrial program for older boys
1. Sandpapering of furniture and larger objects
sourcefulness of the teacher
B. Industrial program for older girls
1. Home-making activities
a. Care of furniture
j. Washing towels and small articles
1. Interclass games
f. Other supervised games Note.-Speech correction for pupils needing it is given by a specialist once each week.
Every Friday both classes are taken to the Salem Recreation Center for instruction in group play, sponsored by the city of Salem. This includes:
1. Counting-with ball bouncing
6. Simple sawing, recognition of tools, simple sandpapering, and painting The Salem classes attend a summer day camp sponsored by the Recreation Department during the morning hours. Parents are responsible for transportation costs to