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Title: Mentally Defective Children
Author: Simon, Théodore, Binet, Alfred, 1857-1911
Language: English
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  W.B. DRUMMOND, M.B., C.M., F.R.C.P. (EDIN.)





  [_All rights reserved_]



The Binet-Simon tests of children's intelligence have been the subject
of much discussion during the past few years, both in this country and
in America. Much of this discussion seems to have been carried on, at
times, without any knowledge of the original aim or purpose for which
these tests were devised, and as if, so to speak, they were invented
as a means for ascertaining the relative intellectual powers of all
children, and so of affording to the teacher a ready and sure means of
accurately classifying and grading the children under his charge. As a
consequence, there is a tendency, in some quarters, to search for and
to endeavour to establish some absolute standard or criterion of
intelligence which shall be valid, irrespective of the nationality, or
the class, or the particular environment of the child.

It is hoped that the publication in translation of the work of Binet
and Simon in which these tests first appeared, along with the complete
series of tests as extended and revised during the lifetime of the
former, will tend to remove this twofold misapprehension, and make the
educationalist, as well as the wider public interested in social
questions, acquainted with the real purpose which underlay the devisal
or invention of the tests, and so enable all to perceive that their
relative value, as measuring stages of intelligence, must be judged by
the purpose for which they were devised.

Now, the main purpose of the authors in the devisal of these tests is
to furnish to the teacher a _first_ means by which he may single out
mentally backward children, who, upon further examination, may also be
found to have some mental defect or peculiarity which prevents them
from fully profiting by the education of the ordinary school, and who
probably would benefit more by being educated in a special school or
in a special class. But the final selection, it is contended, of
defective children for special education demands the experience of the
doctor and of the psychologist, as well as the knowledge of the
teacher, and the aid of all three is necessary in the devisal of
courses of study for the mentally defective. Especially important is
the division of mentally defectives into two main classes--the
feeble-minded and the ill-balanced. The latter, as a rule, are easily
marked out from the normal child, and, if not specially looked after,
may in later life become a menace to society. The feeble-minded, on
the other hand, may easily escape the notice of the teacher, and may
pass through the ordinary school unaffected and unimproved, enter into
society, and propagate their kind. Both classes require the special
care of the community, and their proper education and training are of
the gravest importance for the welfare and stability of society. In
this selection and education of mentally defective children, three
positions of Billet and Simon are worthy of consideration. In the
first place, it is contended that a physical examination alone can
never allow us to dispense with a direct examination of the
intelligence, and that "anthropometry, stigmata, and physical
appearance must take a second place as means of discovering in school
the feeble-minded and the ill-balanced." Again, "mental deficiency and
want of balance are peculiar mental conditions which it is often
impossible to connect with definite pathological changes." Hence the
examination of the medical man is not decisive. It must be
accompanied and reinforced by that of the psychologist. In the second
place, it is affirmed that in the devisal of schemes of training for
mental defectives, we must take into account that the dominant
features in their life are the "senses, the concrete perceptions, and
motor ability," and that "in the education of defectives the workshop
ought to become a more important place of instruction than the
class-room." In the third place, the position is strongly emphasised
that "every class, every school for defectives, ought to aim at
rendering the pupils socially useful. It is not a question of
enriching their minds, but of giving them the means of working for
their living."

Hence, the utility of special schools or special classes for such
children depends ultimately upon their success in making their pupils,
according to the measure of their intelligence, efficient workers.
These two problems--viz., (1) the method of selecting abnormal or
defective children who are not sufficiently good for the ordinary
school, nor yet sufficiently bad to be classed as idiots or imbeciles;
and (2) the devisal of courses of education and training which may
tend to make them hereafter useful workers and citizens--are of
first-rate importance to us at the present time. Under recent
legislation, public local authorities have been entrusted with the
devisal of the means for the proper selection and the proper education
of defective children, and the utmost wisdom and care should be taken
in the beginning of this new movement. The many errors that
administrators may fall into are fully set forth in this little volume
(_cf._ p. 78 _et seq._), and the concluding chapter on the utility of
special schools should be read by all who have to do with the
administration of the new Act.

The importance of the work of Binet and Simon to teachers and
inspectors is without question, and were the duties of the teacher
and inspector carried out as set forth in this volume (_cf._ p. 86)
throughout the whole school, a much-needed improvement in our ordinary
school education would soon result.

Lastly, the volume is important as marking a new attitude towards
educational problems, and as indicating the newer spirit in which we
should undertake the training of all teachers. This new attitude and
spirit are clearly set forth in the concluding words of the volume:
"The essential thing is for all the world to understand that
empiricism has had its day, and that methods of scientific precision
must be introduced into all educational work, to carry everywhere good
sense and light."

                                                ALEXANDER DARROCH

      _July, 1914_



  INTEREST IN SOCIAL QUESTIONS                                  1

  SOME DEFINITIONS                                              4

  SOME STATISTICS                                               7



  WHAT IS A DEFECTIVE CHILD?                                   11







  THE BOARD OF EXAMINERS                                       37



  _TESTS OF INSTRUCTION_                                       52

     READING                                                   55

     ARITHMETIC                                                58

     SPELLING                                                  61

  _PSYCHOLOGICAL EXAMINATION_                                  67

     TESTS OF INTELLIGENCE                                     67



  THE RÔLE OF THE DOCTOR                                       87

  THE DOCTOR NOT TO PICK OUT THE CASES                         88

  THE PHYSICAL EXAMINATION                                     91

  THE MEDICAL EXAMINATION                                      98




  THE MEDICAL SCHEDULE                                        115



  AN INQUIRY IN THE HOSPITALS                                 117

  THE EDUCATIONAL RETURN                                      136

  THE SOCIAL RETURN                                           140

  APPENDIX                                                    147

  DIAGRAMS                                                    165

  INDEX                                                       180




=The Present-Day Interest in Social Questions.=--Amongst questions of
present-day interest, none are more discussed or attract a greater
amount of attention than those which relate to social problems. The
generous philanthropy of preceding generations seems to us to-day a
little out of date, and we substitute for this virtue of the rich the
otherwise fruitful idea that, by the very constitution of society
itself, we are all in duty bound to occupy ourselves with the
condition of our fellow-citizens, and especially of the less fortunate
among them. This duty does not rest solely upon a sentiment of
humanity. It is dictated equally by our own pressing personal
interests; for unless, within a reasonable time, satisfaction is given
to the just demands of the nine-tenths of society who are actually
working for wages very little in harmony with their efforts and their
needs, we already foresee that a violent revolution, from which the
"haves" have very little to gain, will shake society to its very

The consequence is that the very people who up to the present time
have kept themselves most aloof from the social problem are being
brought into contact with reality. It is a curious thing to see how
scientific men, who for the past fifty years have never stirred a foot
outside their laboratories, are showing a tendency to mingle in
affairs. In spite of the diversity of the forces at work, there is one
general fact which is undeniable. Pure and disinterested science
retains its votaries, but the number is increasing of those who are
turning to science for useful and practical applications; albeit, they
are thinking less of science than of society, for it is those social
phenomena which are capable of amelioration which scientific men are
now studying by the most exact methods for the benefit of men of
action, who are usually empirics.

Innumerable examples of this intervention of science in daily life
might be cited. On the one hand, we see physiologists--Imbert, for
example--who are setting themselves to the study of the phenomena of
the labour and the nutrition of different classes of workers; in order
to find out whether the increase in wages and the diminution in the
hours of work which the workers are for ever crying for can be
justified by physiology. The day is not far off when such scientific
observations, which are becoming more exact and more extensive, will
play a part in the discussions between capital and labour.

Another example may be given of a different nature, but of identical
signification. Psychologists are studying the value of evidence, and
are thinking out better methods of arriving at truth, in order to
discover reforms which may be introduced into the organization of
justice. An important movement of this nature, started in France, is
being continued in Germany with even greater energy (Binet, Stern and
his pupils, Claparède, Larguier, etc.).

As a last example we shall cite the most striking of all. This is the
increasing interest which doctors are taking in the upbringing of the
young, both in infancy and later. This is _puericulture_, and includes
everything that is being done for the supervision, protection, and
assistance of the mother and nurseling. It includes the medical
inspection of school-children, which gives the doctor the opportunity
of caring for their ailments and preventing overpressure. It includes,
lastly, all the reforms of but yesterday's date which make for a
better hygiene, a better physical education. One might add also the
work that is being done almost everywhere, in Germany, in America, in
Italy, and in France (Laboratory of Psychology of the Sorbonne, and
the Society for Child Study), with reference to the special aptitudes
of children, and, as has been said a little ambitiously, the making of
education an exact science.

=Education of Defectives.=--The movement referred to, of which we see
only the beginning, but which will result, let us hope, in an
amelioration of the lot of the great majority, is now being directed
to the education of the mentally defective. Their problem has been
discussed theoretically for a long time, but nothing has come of it.
Now the problem is entering upon a new phase, and something practical
will result.

Without attempting to write the whole history, which would be nothing
more than the study of what has been done in other countries, let us
state where we are ourselves.

It was in France that alienists first began to occupy themselves with
the children known under the various names of "abnormal," "backward,"
"idiot," "mentally defective," "unstable," etc. Esquirol made the
important distinction between the idiot and the dement; and after him
many other alienists--notably Itard, Falret, Voisin--described the
principal symptoms of idiocy, or attempted to show that it is capable
of amelioration. Séguin, a teacher of defectives, who has left an
honoured name, showed experimentally how one may, by dint of much
ingenuity and patience, increase the intelligence and improve the
character of some of these unfortunate children.[1] Lastly, in our
own day, Bourneville, the well-known physician of Bicêtre, after
having organised the most important clinique for idiots which exists
in France, agitated with untiring energy for the formation in the
public schools of special classes for the instruction of abnormal
children. This scheme has been supported by a great many doctors and
philanthropists, and laid before municipal councils, general councils,
scientific societies, and all the numerous educational congresses
which have been held in France and abroad during the last twenty

This effort has had no result; and whilst in the great majority of
foreign countries there have been for a long time schools and classes
for defectives--the first German school, that of Dresden, dates from
1867--with us the only children of this kind who receive the care and
education appropriate to their condition are the children of the rich.
Poor children continue to attend the ordinary schools.

It was not till 1904 that the powers that be awakened from their
indifference. The Minister of Public Instruction, M. Chaumié,
appointed a Commission to study the abnormal--physical, mental, and
moral--from the scholastic point of view. This Commission, over which
M. Leon Bourgeois presided most ably, met a great number of times in
1904 and 1905, and drew up a complete scheme for the care and
education of defective children, which has been embodied in a Bill by
the Minister of Public Instruction.

=Some Definitions.=--Now, who are these abnormal children, and why
should the authorities interest themselves in their education? For
the sake of clearness, we must give some definitions.

In medical terminology the term _abnormal_ is applied to every subject
who diverges so clearly from the average as to constitute a
pathological anomaly. As a matter of fact, the abnormal constitute
quite a heterogeneous group. Their common characteristic, which is a
negative one, is that by their physical and mental organisation these
children are rendered incapable of profiting by the ordinary methods
of instruction in use in the public schools. The most definite types
are the deaf and dumb, the blind, the epileptic, idiots, imbeciles,
cripples, etc. There are in this list some classes which are of less
interest to us than others, because the State has already to a certain
extent provided for their needs. This applies especially to the blind,
and to the deaf and dumb. It has always been perceived that such
children were not like others, and could not be taught by ordinary
methods. The blind can learn to read only in a book whose characters
are printed in relief, and the deaf-mute cannot follow an oral lesson.
The necessity of a special education for these two groups was
therefore obvious, and at the present time about five thousand are
receiving care and a professional education in the State institutions
and in private schools, the majority of which are religious. We shall
not concern ourselves with them here, in spite of the interest which
they awaken. Nor shall we discuss whether the methods which are used
for their education might not be improved, though the question is
attractive. But we must simplify the subject if we wish to get on.

We shall also exclude here the lowest grade of idiots, who require
continuous medical supervision, and who are very seldom educable.
These subjects are received into hospitals and asylums. When we have
excluded these classes of children--the deaf-mutes, the blind, and the
ineducable idiots--what remains?

Why, there remain just the very children with whom the new law will be
concerned. In the meantime these are not in any special school; they
are attending the primary schools, which cannot shut the door in their
faces when they have arrived at school age. But they do not profit
much by the instruction given in school, and this fact gives rise to
vigorous complaints on the part of the teachers. These children, say
they, are not in the least like the great majority of other pupils. A
great many of them are mentally defective. Without being completely
lacking in intelligence, they are not sufficiently endowed therewith
to work alongside normal children; they do not understand, they cannot
follow; they profit so little by attending the school that some of
them are never able to assimilate the instruction even of the
elementary course. Very often they pay no attention whatever to the
work of the class; and this is quite a good thing, for then the
teacher forgets them in their corner, and goes on as if they were not
there. But many of these children are ill-balanced; they are
excitable, and their bodies are never at rest; they are not amenable
to ordinary discipline. They are a constant source of trouble and
annoyance to their master and to their comrades. The supervision of a
single ill-balanced child is more trouble, the teachers sometimes
declare, than the direction of twenty normal ones. Either one or the
other must be neglected, and the alternatives are equally

What, then, must be done with those children who are not amenable to
the ordinary school discipline? At first sight this seems a simple
question. Let them be sent to an institution. We actually possess in
the hospitals of Bicêtre and of the Salpêtrière, in the colony of
Vaucluse--to say nothing of provincial institutions--establishments
which make provision, both medical and educational, for children who
are idiotic, imbecile, vicious, and epileptic. Is it not possible to
send to these institutions all the abnormal children who encumber the
primary schools?

No; it is neither possible nor desirable to pack them off to an
asylum. These abnormal children are not in all cases so severely
affected as to require segregation. We admit that such a measure is
necessary for idiots of low grade who cannot even feed themselves. We
have also no objection to leaving to the asylums cases of very severe
nervous disturbance such as epilepsy, for only there can they receive
the medical supervision appropriate to their condition. They have more
need of the doctor than of the teacher. As for the other abnormal
children who constitute the great majority, it seems clear that the
proper place for them is not the asylum, but the special school. They
have sufficient intelligence to attend a school. What they probably
require is instruction specially adapted to their mental state, and
such instruction can be profitably given only in classes small enough
to permit of individual attention.

From all this we reach a very clear definition of what we mean by
abnormal children, and a very simple indication of what should be done
with them. Abnormal and defective children are those who are suitable
for neither the ordinary school nor the asylum; for the school they
are not sufficiently good, for the asylum not sufficiently bad. We
must try what special schools and classes can do for them.

=Statistics.=--It is important to notice that the children so defined
are not a negligible quantity. Their name is legion. And since number
is the factor that gives importance to every social problem, we may
say that the regulation of the lot of these children is a social
question of the greatest gravity.

The statistics which have up till now been published abroad do not
give such precise information as one could wish regarding the number
of the defectives. Some give the bare figures; others, using a better
method, state the proportion of mentally defective children to the
total population. There is also much doubt as to the way in which the
statisticians have used the term "abnormal" or "defective." One
inquiry relates only to children slightly affected; another bears upon
all abnormal children, including the lowest grades of idiocy, and is
therefore much more comprehensive. In other cases we are not told how
the selection was made.

As to France, precise information has not been available until last
year, when two inquiries were held--one at the instance of the
Ministerial Commission, the other organised by the Minister of the
Interior. According to the former inquiry, we find that the proportion
of defectives amounts to scarcely 1 per cent. for the boys, and O.9
per cent. for the girls. These percentages are evidently far too
small, and we ourselves have discovered, by a small private inquiry,
that many schools returned "none" in the questionnaires distributed,
although the headmasters have admitted to us that they possessed
several genuine defectives. In Paris, M. Vaney, a headmaster, made
some investigations by the arithmetical test, which we shall explain
presently, and reached the conclusion that 2 per cent. of the school
population of two districts were backward. If we were to include the
ill-balanced, whose number is probably equal to that of the backward,
the proportion would be about 4 per cent. Lastly, and quite recently,
a special and most careful inquiry was made at Bordeaux, under the
direction of M. Thamin, by alienists and the school medical
inspectors, and it was found that the percentage of abnormality
amongst the boys was 5.17. Probably the true percentage is somewhere
in the neighbourhood of 5. All these inquiries are comparable because
they all deal with the school population. The great variation in the
figures is due to several causes, the chief of which are the
following: (1) The proportion of the abnormal varies to a surprising
extent in different schools even in the same neighbourhood. Dr.
Abadie, for example, has expressly noted that in some schools the
proportion may be four times as great as in others. (2) The definition
of a child of backward intelligence has usually and quite
gratuitously been left vague by the investigators; each interprets the
term in his own way, whence arise great differences in the figures.
(3) It is particularly difficult to define the cases that are to be
reckoned as ill-balanced or unstable, and some teachers, if they are
allowed, will place in this category all the pupils that they dislike.

       *       *       *       *       *

We have been led to interest ourselves in abnormal children in the
following way: One of us, Binet, President of the _Société Libre pour
l'Étude de l'Enfant_, has for many years been in daily contact with
the staff of the primary schools. In obedience to the wish of a great
many teachers, he has formed, in connection with the Society, a
committee for the care of abnormal children, upon which are many
distinguished people, such as M. Rollet, M. Albanel, Dr. Voisin, Mme.
Meusy, and, above all, M. Baguer, who is deeply interested in the
education of defectives. This committee initiated various
investigations relating to backward children. Some time afterwards M.
Binet, having been nominated a member of the Ministerial Commission on
Abnormal Children, became the director of the work of the Commission
relating to the backward and the unstable. He then, in conjunction
with Dr. Simon, undertook in certain districts various inquiries into
the condition of such cases. In regard to several questions we enjoyed
the intelligent and devoted co-operation of M. Vaney, Head of the
Primary School of the Rue Grange-aux-Belles, where one of us has
founded a laboratory of pedagogy. We have thus been interested in
abnormal children for a long time, either from the point of view of
school organisation, or from that of their differentiation from the
normal. Let us add that lately M. Bédorez, the distinguished Director
of Primary Education in the Seine District, has kindly permitted one
of us (Binet) to co-operate in the organisation of some classes for
defective children, which have been started experimentally in the
primary schools of Paris.

Let us now state quite clearly our aim in writing this book. Ever
since public interest has been aroused in the question of schools for
defective children, selfish ambition has seen its opportunity. The
most frankly selfish interests conceal themselves behind the mask of
philanthropy, and whoever dreams of finding a fine situation for
himself in the new schools never speaks of the children without tears
in his eyes. This is the everlasting human comedy. There is no reason
for indignation. Everyone has the right to look after his own
interest, so long as he does not compromise interests superior to his
own--namely, those of society. It is this social interest with which
we are concerned. Having found out by our own personal experience how
a class for defectives may be established and conducted, we have noted
the faults which could not but be committed, and the mistakes which
will certainly occur unless one is forewarned and makes every possible
effort to prevent them. May our book, then, be regarded as a means of
prophylaxis, a means of escaping conscious or unconscious error. May
it also prove a guide--imperfect, no doubt, but still useful--for the
organisation of some of those social inquiries conducted in a strictly
scientific spirit, which are becoming more and more necessary for the
proper management of public affairs.


[1] It is common to cite with respect the names of one's predecessors,
and Séguin's portrait may justly hang in such a gallery of one's
ancestors. But Séguin's work must not be examined too closely; those
who praise it have certainly not read it. Séguin impresses us as an
empiric, endowed with great personal talent, which he has not
succeeded in embodying clearly in his works. These contain some pages
of good sense, with many obscurities, and many absurdities. We refer
the curious reader to his chief work, _Traitement Moral, Hygiène, et
Education des Idiots et des autres Enfants Arriérés_, published in
1846. One might make many criticisms on the writings of alienists; but
to what end? We prefer to say of such predecessors what Ingres said to
his pupils in the Rubens gallery at the Louvre, "Salute them, but pay
no attention to them!"



Although this book is specially intended as a guide to the admission
of mentally defective children to special schools or classes, we
cannot commence by an exposition of the methods of recruiting such
children. We must first describe the children and indicate their
principal characteristics, mental and moral. We must also discuss the
question what a mentally defective child really is--a very important
question, upon which depends everything else, the organisation of the
schools and the special methods of education. Every educational method
depends upon a theory, formulated or implicit, which is at once its
point of departure and its justification. One would run the risk of
falling into a blind empiricism if one were content to apply an
educational method independently of the theory which is its soul.

There are two conceptions of a totally different nature, either of
which may inspire the training of defective children. Let us examine
each of these in turn, and find out which is the more reasonable.

According to the first, the defective child is practically the same as
a normal child several years younger; or, in other words, he is a
child who has been retarded in his development. A backward child of
twelve years of age, who has not yet been able to learn to read, would
thus be comparable to an ordinary child of six, who is just beginning
to spell. It is evident that such a comparison must not be pushed too
far. Many reservations must be made. On the one hand, the defective
has not so much time in front of him for development as a normal and
younger child. He is then not strictly comparable to the latter. On
the other hand, the very fact of his age has given to the defective of
twelve a bodily and even a mental development never attained at six.
For example, he is nearer puberty; his vocabulary is more extensive;
and he possesses greater general knowledge. But these reservations
once made, the theory that the defective is the victim of a
retardation of development has seemed reasonable to many competent
people. As a rule one just accepts it without taking the trouble to
formulate it in precise terms. Perhaps it is for this very reason that
one accepts it so easily; it is the classic theory. To the cursory
reader it may seem that we adopt this theory ourselves, for we shall
frequently use such phrases as "defective of eleven who is at the
level of a child of nine." But the sense in which we use such an
expression must not be misunderstood, because it is only intended to
imply that a certain standard has been attained. It has no bearing on
the cause of the retardation, nor upon its particular nature, nor upon
the means of rectifying it.

Now for the educational consequences of the preceding theory. If the
backwardness is only a slowness of development, it will suffice to
apply to the backward the same methods as to the normal. One will make
them follow the same course of study and go just as far as possible.
Every defective must work towards the primary school certificate. To
attain that end, he ought to pass through seven regular stages, one
each year. The teacher of defectives cannot hope that he will bring
his pupils to the last stage. He will stop half-way. One day, at the
agricultural colony of Vaucluse, when some foreign doctors were
visiting the establishment, the teacher showing his class to the
visitors remarked with naïve pride: "Our pupils follow step by step
the curriculum of the primary school."

A second and totally different theory is tenable, and this one appears
to us to be much nearer the truth. It is that a defective child does
not resemble in any way a normal one whose development has been
retarded or arrested. He is inferior, not in degree, but in kind. The
retardation of his development has not been uniform. Obstructed in one
direction, his development has progressed in others. To some extent he
has cultivated substitutes for what is lacking. Consequently such a
child is not strictly comparable to a normal child younger than
himself. So far as certain faculties are concerned, he remains at the
level of a younger child; but in respect to others, he is on a level
with normal children of his own age. An unequal and imperfect
development is consequently his specific characteristic. These
inequalities of development may vary to any degree in different
subjects. They always produce a want of equilibrium, and this want is
the differentiating attribute of the defective child. But to draw a
faithful picture we must add yet other traits. According to general
opinion, mental deficiency is a disease, and although the idea of
disease is very vague, we are inclined to fall in with this general
opinion. In the first place, we frequently find in such children
defects of speech. Besides, in studying their mental condition more
closely, one finds in some cases peculiarities of understanding,
reasoning, imagining, difficult to define, but which do not appear to
have their equivalent in younger normal children, and which therefore
do not result from simple retardation of development. Here is a boy,
twelve years of ago, who tries to answer our questions, and succeeds
pretty well; but hardly has he finished his answer when he deserts the
subject altogether and begins to talk a lot of nonsense. This want of
coordination in thought constitutes a special defect, and not a
retardation of development. Possibly one would not find analogous
features in other backward children, who tend rather to be laconic;
but it is also possible that a careful analysis of their mental state
might reveal in them other mental symptoms, and, indeed, such are very
obvious in the variety called "unstable" or "ill-balanced."

To sum up, we are of opinion that the defective child usually exhibits
the following characters: (1) A retardation of development; (2) a
defect of equilibrium--_i.e._, the retardation is more marked in some
faculties than in others; (3) individual peculiarities of a
pathological kind in the mental powers.

If this second theory is correct, there follows a very important
practical consequence--namely, that the curriculum drawn up for normal
children is very imperfectly suited to the defective. We cannot force
the latter to fit the ordinary course. To attempt this would be quite
as unreasonable as to make our teaching appeal to the ears of the deaf
or the eyes of the blind.

The first duty of the teacher is to take account of the faculties
already developed, the aptitudes which are already apparent. His work
is thankless and difficult; he would be foolish not to take advantage
of the indications of nature. If a pupil show a special taste for any
subject, it is evidently towards such a line of study that he should
be directed. Consequently, in conformity with these ideas, we would
reject on principle any programme of special instruction which would
rigorously include all the children in a common plan. On the contrary,
we would prefer for the defective a scheme which would take the most
account of their natural aptitudes.

Such considerations lead us to put the following question--What are
the most common aptitudes in children of this class? We say "the most
common," because we have not to do with a single well-defined type,
for there are as many varieties as there are individuals; but in spite
of the number of those varieties, which shows the need for individual
teaching, it will always be possible to establish categories in which
those most nearly alike may be grouped It is also possible that the
aptitudes most frequently lacking are always, or almost always, of the
same nature.

To solve the question which we have just raised, we shall employ two

    _The questionnaire._
    _Direct observation._

A printed questionnaire containing thirty-eight questions has been
distributed through the agency of M. Belot, school inspector, to the
heads of all the elementary schools in two districts of Paris--one
central, the other suburban. Nothing would be gained by reproducing
here the questionnaire, which has served its purpose. We shall simply
lay down the conclusions we have reached, after studying the replies
with the greatest care.

The replies confirm the division, which we have ourselves suggested,
of all the abnormal into three groups: (1) The mentally defective; (2)
the ill-balanced; (3) a mixed type which includes those who are both
mentally defective and ill-balanced. The simply defective do not
present any well-defined anomaly of character, but they do not profit,
or profit very little, from the ordinary school teaching. The
ill-balanced, who might also be called the "undisciplined," are
abnormal chiefly in character. They are distinguished by their
unruliness, their talkativeness, their lack of attention, and
sometimes their wickedness.

=The Distribution of Defective Children in the Public Schools.=--In
which school divisions do we find these several varieties of children?
Let us begin with the mentally defective. These are found chiefly in
the junior division, as might be expected. Some manage to reach the
intermediate division, but scarcely any reach the senior. The exact
distribution is as follows: 75 per cent. in the junior department; 25
per cent. in the intermediate.

Let us be more precise with regard to two points--the age of the child
and his school position. Some heads of schools, not all, have taken
the trouble to satisfy our demands, and have fixed to almost a year
the mental retardation of the child as compared with normal children
of the same age. The following table summarises these replies, and
shows that the majority of cases present a retardation of three years:

Mentally defective children with a retardation of--

                0           0
                1 year      6
                2 years    12
                3  "       12
                4  "        9
                5  "        0
                6  "        4
                7  "        1

According to a convention, of which we shall speak more fully later,
we regard as defective in intelligence a child who shows a retardation
of three years, when he himself is nine years of age or more. The
results shown above agree with this convention. Moreover, one may draw
the conclusion, which is of practical value, that one need not seek
children of this group in the senior division of a primary school.

The distribution of the ill-balanced in the divisions of the primary
school is quite different. In the first place, one is surprised to
find none, or practically none (only two out of forty-five) in the
senior division. We did not expect this. _A priori_, we should have
supposed that, in spite of their defect in character, the unstable
were not without intelligence, and that a fair number of them would
succeed in passing the gates of the senior division. If none are found
there, this shows clearly that instability must be associated with
some mental defect, unless some independent condition, such as
inveterate laziness, has checked the child on the way. The
ill-balanced, like the simply defective, are to be found in the
intermediate and junior divisions, but their distribution is
different. While 75 per cent. of the simply defective are in the
junior division, and 25 per cent. in the intermediate, 45 per cent. of
the ill-balanced are in the junior, and 50 per cent. in the
intermediate: practically, they are divided equally between these two
divisions. This indicates a degree of intelligence superior to that of
the defective, as one would expect. But, on the other hand, their
absence from the senior division shows that the intelligence of the
ill-balanced is in general below the average. As this conclusion is
new, and may be open to question, let us examine it more closely:

The amount of the retardation of the ill-balanced, as shown in our
returns, is as follows:

Mentally ill-balanced children with a retardation of--

              0              14
              1 year         16
              2 years        14
              3   "           2
              4   "           1

These figures show, in a novel form, that the mental retardation is
much less clear in the ill-balanced than in the defective properly so
called, since in the former group are to be found many pupils--about a
third--who, in the opinion of their teachers, are not at all backward;
but the majority are backward, while none are in advance of their
years. Consequently, the whole group shows a slight retardation,
averaging about one year, which confirms and makes more precise our
original conclusion. We may therefore affirm that mental instability
or want of balance is usually accompanied by an intellectual
retardation of about one year.

=Age Distribution.=--It is worth while making another remark about the
ages of these children. The simply defective are of all possible
school ages, while the unstable are usually young children. Here is
the distribution:

      Age.     |   Defectives.    |   Unstable.
     7 years   |  2 }             |  1 }
     8   "     |  5 }             |  9 }
     9   "     |  5 }             |  7 }
    10   "     |  3 } Total, 31   | 10 } Total, 43
    11   "     |  6 }             | 11 }
    12   "     | 10 }             |  5 }
    13   "     |  9   }           |  4   }
    14   "     |  2   }           |  0   }
    15   "     |  3   } Total, 15 |  0   } Total, 4
    16   "     |  1   }           |  0   }

The defectives remain in the schools till the end of the prescribed
terms, whilst the ill-balanced hasten to leave before the time. Thus
the defective, like an inert mass, become a dead weight which
encumbers the school. They adapt themselves as well as they can to
their environment. Their parents are apt to leave them at school as
long as possible, because they do not know what to do with them, and
probably the teachers do not complain very much, but are ready to put
up with these defectives who do not interfere with discipline. The
ill-balanced, on the other hand, find the school environment irksome,
the discipline hostile. They do not wish to stay at school; their
parents do not keep them there, owing to the constant complaints of
the teachers; and the teachers do not want to have anything more to do
with them. Conclusion: The ill-balanced leaves school early, and takes
his place in society, where, owing to his character, he may very
easily become a danger. To sum up, the simply defective remain at
school, while the ill-balanced leave early.

Another observation may be made. Since the ill-balanced are so
numerous at ten years of age, and even at eight, we conclude that in
many cases the mental instability is not the result of the
perturbation which precedes puberty. This physiological explanation is
not of such general application as is sometimes supposed.

=The Frequency of the Mixed Type, at once Defective and
Ill-Balanced.=--The third category of defective children which we have
suggested includes those of a mixed type, who are at once mentally
defective and ill-balanced. We shall not be surprised to find that
these subjects have characters which are the mean of those of the
defective and the ill-balanced, since they unite in themselves the two
different forms of abnormality. Thus, as regards their intelligence,
one finds that none of them are in the senior division; the majority
are in the junior division (71 per cent.), and the remainder (29 per
cent.) in the intermediate division, which proves that they are on the
average less intelligent than the simply ill-balanced, and more
intelligent than the simply defective. But we need not dwell on such
details, which are easy to understand and even to foresee. The most
important question is the number of the mixed cases. The groups of the
two simple types are almost equal in number.[2] On the other hand, we
find only twenty-one mixed cases in a population where the
ill-balanced which have been notified to us amount to forty-four, and
the defective to fifty-seven, so that the mixed cases represent only a
fifth of the whole, whereas the simple cases form four-fifths. These
very different proportions indicate that as a general rule mental
instability and mental deficiency are quite distinct. They are not
aspects of a single pathological condition, but are two quite
independent pathological conditions which may coexist in the same
subject, just as happens, for example, in the case of alcoholism and
epilepsy, but which are none the less distinct, since as a rule they
do not coexist.

=Psychological Description of the Mentally Defective.=--Now let us
take a closer look at the children who are going to be pupils in our
schools for defectives. In looking over the replies to our
questionnaire, we are struck by the recurrence of certain phrases, by
which the teacher attempts to sum up the defective child. Here are
some examples of such phrases. They represent only general
impressions, but the frequency of similar impressions arrests one's

    _Charles_ does the best he can.

    _Augustine_ is very attentive.

    _Emile_ is very obedient and gentle.

    _Paul_ is always making himself useful in little ways.

    _Marcelle_ is obliging and polite.

    _Jeanne_ blushes on the slightest occasion.

    Severity paralyses _Ernestine_ and makes her lose what little
    wits she possesses.

    _Camilla_ smiles whenever anyone speaks to her, and immediately
    does what she is told.

    _Louis_ is very biddable.

    _Angela_ does not answer back when her companions tease her, and
    takes the blame herself.

    _Eugenie_ is affectionate and is loved by her companions who
    make her join in their games. Although she herself is fifteen,
    it was a child of eight who taught her to read and write.

From all these remarks it appears that the defective is a likeable
creature. He is so even in proportion to the degree of his defect.
With this thought in mind, we have examined the various descriptions,
and have reached this very curious conclusion: The more likeable the
child is represented to be, the greater the amount of retardation one
may safely attribute to him. Few, indeed, are the exceptions to this

The defective child is praised for his sweetness of disposition. If he
does not understand the work which is being done in class, at any rate
he does not show his want of comprehension in any noisy manner.
Sitting quietly in his place, he allows himself to be forgotten. The
lesson can go on just as if he were not present, and usually that is
just what happens. It would not be just on this account to accuse of
negligence a teacher who has charge of forty to sixty pupils. The
sluggishness, both mental and physical, of these children is a
negative quality which an overtaxed master is sometimes weak enough to
value. When the defective child becomes subject to discipline, we are
told, he does not rebel; for he is obedient, respectful, and probably
suggestible. Sometimes the teacher may even recognise in him the
presence of qualities of a more positive nature. Some defectives are
pleased, and even eager, to do little services. They are kind to their
companions, affectionate, and grateful for attentions paid to them. As
they are usually older than the other children in their class, the
teacher often trusts them with little commissions. So far as one can
judge of the morality of natures whose intellectual level is so low,
the source of the altruistic sentiments appears to be well represented
in the defective, but it remains to be considered whether his docility
and complaisance may not mislead us as to the true value of his
sentiments; for one characteristic of the defective is his tendency to
repeat the polite formulæ or moral maxims which have been taught him.
He has a surface morality, possibly purely verbal. As a last trait, it
may be noted that the defective is influenced by rewards and
punishments, but, owing to his defective intelligence, the effect is
very fleeting.

=Psychological Description of the Ill-Balanced.=--This description
contrasts curiously with the preceding. In this there is nothing to be
surprised at. In school the ill-balanced child is a perpetual
nuisance. The teacher has no weakness for this naughty child, who is
always disturbing the class and defying his authority.

As we have done in the case of the defective, let us quote some of the
phrases by which our correspondents sum up the unstable.

    _Charles_ cannot sit still, nor keep in rank, and his
    heedlessness prevents reproof having any effect.

    _Albert_ never obeys but with a bad grace.

    _Martha_ always puts on an astonished look when she is checked.

    _Maurice_ receives any criticism with impatience.

    _Susan_ receives it with anger.

    _Eugenie_, by tossing her head. She mimics her teacher, and
    makes the others laugh, so that they have to hide their faces.

    _Octavia_ replies, "What do I care!" She bursts out laughing and
    continues to do what she has been forbidden.

    _Leontine_ quibbles, answers back, and expresses aloud her bad

    _Raoul_ flies into a passion when he is reprimanded. He poses as
    a martyr, a victim of injustice, and sometimes even utters
    threats. Punishment makes him give vent to intemperate language.

    _Victor_ assumes an attitude of revolt, turns pale, and refuses
    to obey when anyone checks him.

    _Lucy_ broke her pen in a fit of temper.

    _Helen_ in the same circumstances upsets everything in her

    _Louise_ strikes her elbows on the desk, and one day she even
    kicked her teacher.

    _Leon_ is quarrelsome and his companions are afraid of him.

    _George_ does nothing but tease his companions. He destroys
    their copybooks, tears pages from their books, and puts the
    blame on them.

    _Charles_, who is rendered obstinate by strictness and merely
    irritated by punishment, seems happy when one takes an interest
    in him.

    _Eugenie_, who is greatly excited by punishment and who smiles
    at rewards, loves to be flattered and picked out to do some
    little service.

The three following traits are constantly met with in the descriptions
of the ill-balanced: they are turbulent, boastful, and incapable of
attention. To this may be reduced the psychology of the less strongly
marked cases. They have an instability of body, of speech, of
attention, which may result either from an excessively nervous
disposition, or simply from a nature whose restlessness rebels against
sedentary and silent study. But in many cases other features are
present. In addition to the preceding symptoms, there are found
impatience of discipline and a tendency to annoy their comrades. The
ill-balanced are spoken of as brutal, deceitful, cruel; and as to
their obstinacy, the abundant details in the questionnaires show that
these children have left a disagreeable impression on the school
staff. It is especially on their account that an outcry for special
schools has arisen. The way in which these children react to
discipline is very interesting. We are told that they are very little
influenced by rewards, which they often receive with disdain,
laughter, or irony, if they do not refuse them altogether.
Punishments, on the other hand, produce a bad effect. The ill-balanced
nearly always become angry, and rebel against punishment, so that the
teachers strive to avoid coming into conflict with them. Here we have
a trait which is very interesting for psychology, but very
embarrassing for pedagogy. How, then, can the ill-balanced be
subjected to any discipline whatever? This is an important question,
which it will be all the more necessary to solve because it is the
ill-balanced who profit most by special education; it is for them that
one would have most hope. Our advice is that, in order to control
these children, account should be taken, in the first place, of their
dominant tendency. The study of the answers to the questionnaires
shows us that the chief thing to which one can appeal in these cases
is their amour-propre, their pride, their vanity--in a word, the whole
range of the egoistic sentiments. On natures of this stamp punishment
cannot have much effect, seeing that it is opposed by an often
indomitable pride. The end may be reached more directly, not by
breaking the resistance, but by giving it a different direction. It is
better to praise the ill-balanced when he has done well than to punish
him for his faults. It is desirable also to show him some
appreciation, or even to trust him with some duty of a very modest
kind, which he may perform under discreet supervision.

=Mental Aptitudes of the Defective.=--Having briefly sketched the
moral aptitudes of the abnormal, let us now examine their mental
aptitudes. We have here a very captivating subject of inquiry. The
study of individual aptitudes ought to have been undertaken long ago
in the interest of education. Everyone is crying out for it. No one,
or almost no one, undertakes it. In the case of the abnormal there is
even more urgent need that it should be undertaken, for the younger or
less intelligent the pupils, the more depends upon educational
methods. When a mind is of a superior kind, very little really depends
upon the culture supplied to it. If a Berthelot or a Pasteur should
even have had imbeciles as their first masters in chemistry, they
would none the less have turned out men of genius. It is those of
average intelligence who have need of good methods of instruction. It
is the young children who really require intelligent methods.
Consequently we should give the defectives the best teachers. Every
fault of method committed in their education may have consequences
which will prejudice them later on.

In order to discover the aptitudes of the mentally defective, we have
three means of interrogating our questionnaires. In the first place
these contain the following question: _Does the child show any
particular aptitude either at school or outside?_ This question has
evoked replies which vary very little, for amongst the aptitudes of the
children scarcely anything is mentioned but bodily occupations--errands,
domestic duties, gymnastics, sewing, and drawing. In the same
questionnaire another question, placed on the following page, is almost
identical in form with the first: _Is there anything in which the child
is particularly interested?_ The replies to this second question have
been a little more numerous than to the previous one. It is true that
the two differ by a shade--the distinction between interest and
aptitude. One may interest oneself in something for which one has no
aptitude. The following table shows the distribution of the replies to
the two preceding questions:


        _Aptitudes._           |      _Interests._
                       Pupils. |                    Pupils.
    None                 19    |  None                 11
    Practical life        7    |  Writing               8
    Sewing                7    |  Drawing               7
    Gymnastics            1    |  Sewing                6
    Drawing               1    |  Gymnastics            5
                               |  Arithmetic            3
                               |  Recitation            3
                               |  History               2
                               |  French                1
                               |  Music                 1
                               |  Singing               1
                               |  Reading               1
                               |  Object lessons        1

These two lists are not superposable, but if we take them together we
shall notice that sensori-motor occupations, such as gymnastics,
"practical life," sewing, writing, and drawing, are those which are
most interesting to these pupils. Sewing, writing, and drawing are,
indeed, their favourite lessons. We should have expected that singing
would not have left them indifferent, for other investigations have
shown us that the majority have a good voice; but it is quite apparent
that singing is less attractive to them than drawing. A very
characteristic feature is the absence of any mention of composition.
Some of the abnormal are fond of arithmetic; none shine in
composition. This fact, though negative, seems worth consideration.
Speaking generally, we never find that a child who is good at
composition is mentally defective.

We have mentioned that there is a third method of weighing the
aptitudes of defective children. In our questionnaire we asked the
teachers to give marks showing the relative ability of these children
in the different subjects. From these marks it appears that in four
subjects they are more successful than in others. These are
gymnastics, drawing, writing, and reading. We regret that we did not
include in our list sewing, manual work, and object lessons. Here are
our results in figures. These indicate for each pupil the two subjects
in which he has obtained the highest marks.

                  Pupils. |              Pupils.
    Reading           23  |  Arithmetic      6
    Writing           18  |  Spelling        5
    Drawing           11  |  Singing         3
    Gymnastics        11  |  Recitation      3

It is not at all uncommon for a defective to take the first place in
writing or in drawing. This is quite a remarkable fact, although we
must hasten to add that in such cases the defective is usually the
oldest child in the class.

All these observations are sufficiently uniform, and lead to the same
conclusion. The dominant features in the defective are the senses, the
concrete perceptions, and motor ability. These are the faculties which
are normally developed. His constant weakness in composition shows
that the function of speech is quite evidently inferior to the sensory
and motor functions. Let us weigh these facts and sum up. What a great
mistake it would be to give to children of this kind the syllabus of
instruction which has been made to suit normal children. This syllabus
harmonises with the development of all the faculties. How, then, could
one make children follow it whose aptitudes are limited?

       *       *       *       *       *

Inquiries by questionnaire have one defect which has often been noted.
They bring together statements furnished by correspondents who are
often unknown, and whose judgment and accuracy it is impossible to
estimate. Each of their observations, taken by itself, has little
authority. It is the sum of concurring observations which should alone
be taken into consideration; and even then it is necessary to be
cautious before drawing any practical conclusion, because an
agreement in the replies sometimes indicates nothing more than a
general misconception.

Such doubts, which are known to all investigators, led us to decide to
make direct observations on our own account upon abnormal
school-children, and to compare them with normal children of the same
age--a long and difficult task, as all pioneer work is. We have
collected facts which we were not seeking, whilst we often failed to
find what we expected. It would be impossible to summarise here
everything which contact with reality has taught and suggested. We
shall extract from our observations only what concerns the aptitudes
of the abnormal, and shall even limit ourselves to a single category
of these. It happens that we have methodical observations relating to
twelve defective children of between eleven and twelve years of age.
These form a sufficiently homogeneous group from the point of view
both of age and of mental ability. We shall inquire what are the best
marked aptitudes and the most apparent deficiencies of this little
group. Without denying individual differences or forgetting that
defectives cannot easily be reduced to a single type, we have thought
it more interesting for the present to emphasise their resemblances
rather than their differences. Let us, then, compare them _en bloc_
with a group of normal children of the same age and the same social
position, attending the same schools, in the same district. This
equivalence of conditions is necessary if we are to lay our finger on
the distinctive characters of the defective child.

We have subjected our twelve defectives to certain tests as speedy and
precise as possible.[3] We devised these tests before studying the
returns furnished to our questionnaires, and the latter were tabulated
before our observations. There have, therefore, been two studies
absolutely independent, both in their mode of execution, and in their
aim. Consequently, any points in which they agree will be very

Our collection of tests of mental deficiency is already known to
readers of the _Année Psychologique_.[4] In vol. xi. we described at
length the details necessary for making use of our method of
experimentation. Since then Dr. Decroly, who specialises on defective
children in Belgium, has tried our methods, and verified our
conclusions. The end which we have constantly set before ourselves has
been to bring to light the intellectual capacity of the child, taken
by itself, as distinct from what the child actually knows. Our
psychological examinations are consequently the very opposite of
school examinations, which test chiefly the candidate's memory, his
judgment very little.

We have made numerous observations in this way. The best way to
explain our method, and more especially our results, will be to
describe a few of the experiments.

_Memory of Pictures of Known Objects._--The children are allowed to
look for thirty seconds at pictures of thirteen objects, which they
are then told to enumerate from memory.

_Comparison of Short Lines._--Two lines for comparison are drawn in
ink side by side on the same sheet of paper, so that they can both be
seen at a glance. We have a whole series of such pairs. Between the
lines, whose average length is 30 millimetres, there is a variable

_Estimation of Weights._--Five little boxes, weighing respectively 3,
6, 9, 12, and 15 grammes, are to be arranged in order of weight.

_Memory of Figures._--This test consists in repeating a series of
figures immediately after having heard them.

_Memory of Phrases._--The child is asked to repeat a phrase of twelve
to fifteen words immediately after having heard it.

We do not wish to insist on the details of these observations. They
are still very incomplete. It will be necessary to experiment for a
long time[5] before it will be possible to say exactly what it is that
is wanting, or that is wrong, in the mental machinery of the
defective. No doubt when the classes for defectives shall be under
way, when a great many such children are brought together in
conditions which suit the convenience of the experimenters, the latter
will be able after persevering effort to see daylight in this matter.
In the meantime we must be content with a general survey. But however
superficial, however defective, our first attempts may be, they may at
least give us a start.

Let us see, then, what results have been obtained from our tests.
These results clearly separate the tests themselves into two groups.
To the one set the defectives furnished replies practically equivalent
to those of normal children. To the other, on the contrary, they gave
answers which clearly exhibited their retardation, or rather their
defect. This difference would be deprived of all significance if any
of the tests presented no difficulty to a normal intelligence. But in
all cases the difficulty was so great that even the normal made many
mistakes, and we can affirm that, whilst for the one set the two
groups of children were practically equal, for the other, on the
contrary, the inferiority of the defective is quite clear.

The tests in which the defectives are on a par with the normal
are--(1) The comparison of short lines; (2) the memory of pictures.
Let us give some details of the latter test, which appears to us
typical. Each child individually was shown a sheet of paper, on which
were pasted thirteen pictures of known objects. These pictures, drawn
in black and very simple, almost reduced to outlines, represented a
nose, a head of hair, a rose, two cherries, a bed, a barrel, a nail, a
key, an omnibus, some eggs, a bell, a sun setting in the sea, and a
mouth. We have here a test of sense memory, for the child is asked to
recall a visual impression. Something more, however, is necessary, for
he must understand the picture and give it a name. But this
constitutes no real difficulty, and the whole exercise is a test of
sense intelligence. We were quite surprised to find that in this case
our defectives were at the level normal for eleven years. The average
of their replies is seven, which is exactly the normal value. This is
shown in the following table, which gives the comparison between them
and normal children of eleven:


    Number of pictures remembered--
        Normal children          4, 5, 6, 6, 7, 7, 8, 9, 10, 10.
        Defective children       4, 4, 7, 7, 7, 8, 8, 9, 11.

Have we not here a very interesting confirmation of what we have
already learned from the questionnaires? The exercise is one which
certainly presents some difficulty, since the normal children forgot
some of the pictures. If it had been too easy, one would not have been
surprised at the fact that the two groups--the normal and the
defective--were equally successful. Now, in spite of the difficulty,
the defective shows no inferiority as compared with the normal. Any
commentary would diminish the eloquence of this result.

Without lingering over each of the other tests, let us select from the
group one which forms a remarkable contrast to the preceding. Just as
striking as the equality between the defective and the normal in
visual memory of pictures is the difference between them in memory for

The latter is a test of immediate memory. One repeats to the child a
phrase of about twelve to fifteen words, and asks him to repeat it
immediately afterwards. For this memory is necessary, and also
voluntary attention, and some power of comprehension into the bargain;
for if some of these phrases are quite easy to understand (_e.g._,
Germaine has not been good; she did not want to work; she will be
scolded), others, again, are a little involved (_e.g._, The
chestnut-tree in the garden casts the quite faint shadow of its new
leaves on the ground). The number of phrases which the defectives
managed to repeat correctly is very small. It averages only two. Here
are the figures:


  Number of phrases repeated exactly--
                        {  7 years  1, 2, 2, 3, 3, 3, 3, 4, 5, 5.
    Normal children     {  9 years  2, 4, 4, 4, 4, 5, 5, 5, 6, 6, 7.
                        { 11 years  3, 3, 4, 4, 5, 5, 6, 6, 7, 7.
    Defective children,   11 years  0, 1, 1, 2, 2, 2, 2, 2, 3, 3, 4, 4.

If one examines these results, one is surprised to find that some of
the defectives are superior to normal children of the same age, since
they repeat four phrases, although some of the normal repeat only
three. In all experiments on groups one finds exceptions of this kind.
We are glad to give examples in order to show how complex everything
is. In order to comprehend such anomalies, it is necessary to analyse
the exceptional cases. One generally finds then that the defective who
has broken the rule has made use of a pure sense memory, has repeated
like an echo without understanding. If the repetition is delayed a
little, he is lost. In other cases the defective is not far removed
from the normal. Without stopping to discuss these exceptions, let us
examine the group as a whole. When we do this we reach the important
conclusion that our group of defectives resembles in a striking manner
the group of children of seven years. On an average, they repeat
practically the same number of phrases. The average for seven years is
3.1; that of the defectives of eleven years is a little less: it is

Now, to sum up, let us compare just these two extremes, the memory of
pictures and the memory of phrases. Is not the contrast remarkable?
And does one not here hit upon one of the principal differences
between the normal and the abnormal? Give the defective a piece of
work which interests him, which appeals to his organs of sense, and
which is concrete. If the work is not too difficult, he will acquit
himself tolerably well. If, however, the work involves words, phrases,
composition--in a word, abstract ideas expressed in speech--the
defective immediately reveals wherein his inferiority lies. Abstract
thought, and all other mental operations that involve it, are to him a
closed domain. The replies of the teachers to our questionnaires had
already led us to suspect this. Our tests are a confirmation, and even
an exact demonstration, of it.

The normal curriculum of primary education, as one can imagine, is
therefore not suitable to the mental condition of the majority of
defectives. Even by reducing it to its first elements, one would make
only a bad fit, for if one were to diminish the abstract portion which
is not intended for defectives, one would equally diminish the
concrete portion, which, far from being reduced, when defectives are
in question, ought to be amplified. It is necessary, therefore, to
change the proportions of the different parts of the curriculum, and
give the whole a special direction. We shall conclude our observations
by remarking that, if we take the workshop in opposition to the class,
as the symbol of concrete work opposed to the symbol of verbal work,
the workshop ought in the education of defectives to become a more
important place of instruction than the class.

A slight reservation, however, must be made as to the value of this
conclusion. In spite of the existence for a number of years of
institutions for the abnormal, we have yet scarcely begun our
researches. Everywhere we are up against the same ignorance, and shall
be so for a long time to come. Our knowledge of these children is very
imperfect. We do not pretend that anything we are about to say is in
any way complete.

Thus, having set forth a quite general principle relating to concrete,
intuitive, sensory education, let us hasten to add that in practice
this principle must be applied to children of widely differing
temperaments, and that nothing is more complicated than the pedagogy
of defectives, if one desires it to be adapted to the numerous ends
which it is necessary for it to attain. One will certainly bear in
mind that a greater place must be given to intuition than to
abstraction; one will bear this in mind in the detail of the education
of defectives, as well as in its general direction, but without
forgetting the numerous interests which it is necessary to satisfy.
There is no question but that there will be admitted into the special
schools and classes many children only slightly defective, who are
destined to return as soon as possible to the ordinary school; and one
would put an obstacle in the way of this return, or even make it
impossible, if, from the day the child entered the special class, a
totally different direction should be given to his education from that
of the ordinary school. This would be both serious and troublesome.
The amount of abstract material in the lessons should be diminished
simply in proportion to the mental deficiency. There is no reason why
the slight cases should not be taught in the special class in
accordance with a programme little different from that of the
elementary school, except that it gives them the benefit of greater
individual attention. Such individual attention is still more
necessary in the case of the ill-balanced, of whom we have scarcely
spoken in this chapter. It is not their insubordinate spirit which
sets them against anything abstract, and one would do them a very
poor service by depriving the more intelligent of them of the ordinary
curriculum, and all the more as the majority of the ill-balanced are
destined to improve considerably. Thus there are many reasons why, in
the case of certain classes of the abnormal, one should not lose sight
of the usual curriculum. These reasons are as follows: the slight
degree of the deficiency in certain cases, or the existence of
instability without retardation, or the necessity of sending the
children who improve most back to the ordinary schools. Such are the
reasons which are important from the school point of view. There are
others with a social bearing which are more important still. At the
present day it is necessary, especially in towns, that everyone should
be able to read, to write, and to express himself in suitable
language. It has been remarked, and justly, that reading is the
triumph of abstraction, and that a defective may require two years to
learn to read by syllables, and very poorly even then. No matter: if
the thing is possible, even with considerable effort, such a defective
ought to learn to read. This is demanded, not by the state of the
child's intelligence, but by the society in which he lives, where
illiteracy would bring shame upon him. In questions of this kind the
indications of psychology and pedagogy should be subordinated to the
needs of life. Necessity makes the law. All instruction given to
defectives must be dominated by the question of its practical
usefulness. A pedagogy which should be fitted easily to the measure of
their intelligence would be dangerous, in that it might result in
making them useless. It is evident, therefore, that the problem is
very complex, and it would be quite useless to attempt to express it
by a single formula. The nature of each individual case must be taken
into account, and one must aim at an essentially practical training, a
pedagogy of ends rather than of abstract principles. Our advice,
consequently, is that in the meantime no definite curriculum should be
fixed upon, but that the teachers of defective children should be
allowed some freedom, under the cautious control of the primary school
inspectors. We ask that all intelligent initiative should be accepted
and encouraged, and that the teachers in special schools should
frequently meet together in order that they may compare their
experience. In short, we should give to the schools and classes for
defectives such freedom and elasticity that the kind of education best
adapted for such children would be able to evolve and perfect itself
like a living organism.


[2] On the other hand, Dr. Abadie found 309 defective to 134

[3] At the _Laboratoire de Pedagogie Normal_, 36, Rue
Grange-aux-Belles. For details of the work of this laboratory see
_Année Psychologique_, tome xiii., pp. 1, 233.

[4] [See vols. xi., 1905, p. 191; xiv., 1908, p. 1; xvii., 1911, p.
145. Also _Bull. de la Soc. pour l'Étude de l'Enfant_, 1911, p. 187.]

[5] [The results of later observations are embodied in the tests
published in 1911, which are given complete in the Appendix.]



When legislation provides special schools and classes for the benefit
of defectives, it will be imprudent to make use of legal force to bear
down the will of the parents. It will be better, in the first
instance, to have recourse to persuasion. It will be pointed out to
the parents that their children are behindhand in their lessons. The
parents, as a matter of fact, know this quite well. It will be
explained to them that classes of forty pupils are too large for
children like theirs, and that the teacher cannot devote sufficient
attention to them. It will be explained also that classes are being
organised for ten to twenty pupils at most, in which it will be
possible to give individual attention. Before instructing their child,
it will be necessary to begin by awaking his intelligence, which
involves the teacher devoting himself to him with method, order, and
patience. One will appeal to the heart of these parents, and will
surely manage to persuade them, especially the mothers. For such
interviews we must rely upon the school teachers and the inspectors.
It will only be necessary to warn them to avoid the use of certain
expressions. It would never do to say to the parents that their child
is an idiot, an imbecile, a fool, or even abnormal. The admission of
their son or daughter into a special school should be represented to
them as an advantage or even a favour. Their consent should not be
demanded in too formal a manner. This would make them think that it
is they who are giving something, and many would refuse. In a word,
much can be done by prudence, sympathy, and a little tact; and the
personal experience that we have acquired has shown us that it is not
difficult to gain the parents to the cause of special education.

=Composition of a Board of Examiners.=--We have now to consider how
the selection of the children is to be made. It has been determined by
statute that the examiners shall be three in number--the head of a
special school, an elementary school inspector, and a doctor. As to
the manner in which this committee is to carry out its work, the law
preserves an absolute silence.

When the three examiners meet in order to judge the degree of
retardation of the children who are presented to them, is this absence
of a definite programme embarrassing? We do not think so. A committee
which is duly authorised always manages to do something. The work is
done more or less empirically, perhaps, but it is done. Tell the jury
to find defective children, and they are sure to find them. The only
question is, What will be the value of their selection? and, above
all, How can so delicate a quest be saved from empiricism and rendered
exact? It is to be hoped that at first there will not be too many
mistakes. This would have a bad effect upon the new institution. It is
unfair to a normal child to send him to a special school, just as it
is unfair to a defective to keep him in the ordinary school. It is
better to make such mistakes as seldom as possible. Moreover, it is of
the greatest interest to try to forecast the exact way in which errors
are most likely to arise. In every machine there is a point of least
resistance which requires to be watched. In every human institution
there is a detail of organisation where fraud and charlatanism are
most liable to occur.

Since we have supervised the organisation of some classes for
defectives, and have been able by some preliminary observations to
take account of these dangers, we take it upon ourselves to give
warning of them in advance. We fix buoys to the rocks that they may be

It seems to us that the selection of defectives calls for three
varieties of experience--that of teachers, of doctors, and of
psychologists. We shall proceed to indicate the services which these
various persons may render. In this chapter we shall speak only of the
pedagogical examination. The duty of making the first selection among
the school-children and indicating those who are suspected of being
defective belongs partly to the teachers and partly to the school
inspectors, whose respective rôles, it seems to us, can easily be


It is out of the question to make an entire school pass before a
committee in order that 500 pupils may have their mental faculties
analysed. Such a task, at once troublesome and useless, would require
several months. One should rather, in the first place, adopt a rapid
method of picking out the children _suspected of mental defect_. It is
quite sufficient that they should be suspected. Such a selection once
made, the committee will have before it only a moderate number of
candidates upon whom it will be possible to concentrate attention.

Let us proceed to show how the teachers may make their selection:

=A retardation of three years indicates a child who should be regarded
as a suspect.= A child enters the elementary school at the age of
about six years. Each year he ought to advance one class. From six to
nine years he is in the elementary course; from nine to eleven in the
intermediate course; from eleven to thirteen in the senior course. All
are not quite regular. Some are a little in advance, some are behind,
but the majority conform to the preceding scheme. When a school is
well managed, when the assignation of the children to their respective
classes is made by means of suitable tests, and without too great
regard to the demands of the parents, the classification which results
is very good. There is then no better means of finding out whether a
child is intelligent or not than to take into consideration his age
and his class. Intelligence, so extraordinarily difficult to judge, is
indicated in the above way with a really curious exactness. A child
two years behind his age, when irregularities in attendance, absence
on account of illness, etc., do not explain his backwardness, is very
likely to be less intelligent than one who is in, or in advance of,
the usual class for his age. This amounts to judging intelligence by
the degree of instruction. Theoretically, such a method is open to
plenty of meticulous objections, of which the most important is that
we are confounding intelligence and memory. To this we shall reply
that the stage of instruction reached is not the result of memory
alone. It presupposes also some degree of application, some facility
of comprehension, quite a collection of diverse aptitudes. The child's
success in his studies is, in fact, the best indication we have of his
capacity to adapt himself to the school environment. If the child is
unable to keep up with the classes suited to his age, if he is unable
to profit like other children from the education provided, this shows
that he has not the same degree or the same kind of intelligence as
his companions, and there is a presumption, if not an absolute
demonstration, that his intelligence is inferior to the average, or
that his character is different.

From these statements, which we have expounded at length elsewhere,[6]
it follows that not only the head-master, but an entire stranger, can
determine which are the less intelligent children, the less well
adapted to that school, without taking the trouble to interrogate them
all individually. It is only necessary to compare their position in
school with their age.

We thus obtain no merely subjective appreciation, but a simple
statement of the actual condition of things. The only thing one must
be careful about is to make allowance for irregular attendance.
Backwardness in school instruction is significant only when it
coincides with regular attendance. At the present time the regulations
as to school attendance are very little respected. In country
districts there are children who do not go to school till they are
eight or nine years of age. It is not surprising that they cannot
read, when no one has taught them. Allowance must also be made for
long illnesses. When the absences have been considerable, their total
amount must be subtracted. A child of nine, who has come to school at
the age of six--_i.e._, the usual age--and who has been absent for
about 250 days, should, from the present point of view, be counted as
eight. The school authorities will have no difficulty in making such
estimates. That is their business, and they will quickly make up their
minds even in a difficult case. One will, of course, bear in mind that
the number of classes differs in different schools, and that certain
classes are parallel. Lastly, one must remember that a defective may,
on account of his age, be placed in a class too advanced for his
knowledge. This, indeed, is often the case.

Exception may be taken to the rôle that we have assigned to the
teachers. We may be reminded that about two years ago, when statistics
concerning defectives were being collected by circular, many of the
head-masters replied in a notoriously unsatisfactory manner. Even in
Paris one school was stated to contain 25 per cent. of defectives,
whilst not a single one was acknowledged in another in the same
neighbourhood. This amounted, as M. Bédorez ironically remarked, to an
average of 12 per cent.

We shall reply, in the first place, by asking whether a mistake has
really been committed. This cannot be taken for granted, since the
proportion of defectives varies enormously from one school to another.
But let us admit a mistake, and ask who is responsible. The master of
the school understood badly what the circular had explained more badly
still. In these circulars we actually read the following definition of
defectives: "Subjects who are in a condition of mental debility,
possessing only a limited intelligence and a limited responsibility,
which do not admit of their acquiring, at the ordinary school and by
the usual methods of education, the average elementary instruction
which the other pupils receive." If one interprets this badly
constructed formula literally, it is evident that half the children of
France must be defective, being of necessity below the average. If the
teacher is to work intelligently, he must have more precise
directions. After having explained to him that a defective child is
one who does not adapt himself, or who adapts himself badly, to school
life, one will tell him that the degrees of non-adaptation vary
indefinitely; for it is quite exceptional for even a defective child
not to adapt himself at all, and to learn absolutely nothing at the
ordinary school. It remains, therefore, to decide what degree of
retardation or of non-adaptation is to be recognised as determining a

According to a convention accepted in Belgium, which we modify
slightly, _the retardation which determines a child as a defective is
two years when the child is under nine, and three years when he is
past his ninth birthday_. Here we have a very precise rule, easy to
apply to all children, with the corrections already indicated relating
to school attendance. The rule is, perhaps, a little rigid, we admit,
but it will always be possible to make allowances when examining
closely the individual cases to which it will have to be applied.

Thus, the method which we have just indicated permits the making of a
first selection.

This selection will be good, without being final. It will be good, for
it is based upon a wide experience extending over several years. Just
think what it means in the way of inattention and want of
comprehension if a child is three years behind. For our own part, we
consider this evidence from experience of the greatest value. It is
the obvious point of departure. We can and should try to interpret it
and to complete it, but we are not justified in taking no account of
it. Let us even say boldly that if, by some unhappy chance, other
finer methods should conflict with this, and indicate as defective a
child who has shown himself well adapted to school life, it is school
life which should be considered the more important test. How, indeed,
could one call a child defective who succeeds in his studies and
profits by the instruction in the normal way? Thus we sum up by
remarking that _we possess a very simple method which enables us to
recognise all the children whom we have any right to suspect of mental
deficiency_. _This method consists in taking account of the
retardation of the children in their studies._

       *       *       *       *       *

For the recognition of the ill-balanced children the rule is the same.
The head-master must pick out those children whose undisciplined
character has kept them from submitting to the ordinary school régime,
and has made them a continual source of disturbance. Whilst the
simply defective fail to adapt themselves to school life by reason of
their mental deficiency, the ill-balanced fail owing to their
inco-ordination of character. In the second case, as in the first,
there is a similar defect of adaptation, and the best proof that this
defect is present in a particular child is the continued evidence of
several years, the testimony of different masters, who declare that,
with the best will in the world, they cannot break in the recalcitrant
child to rule. But it must be recognised that the appreciation of want
of balance is more delicate, more subjective, than that of
retardation. The latter is indicated by a definite incontrovertible
fact--the insufficiency of instruction. On the other hand, lack of
balance has only a slight effect on a child's intelligence and his
success in his studies. It is indicated to outsiders especially by the
complaints of the masters. And the latter, to tell the truth, may be
led to exaggerate a little, especially if they see a means thereby of
ridding themselves of children with whom they have not much sympathy.
We shall see in a little, when we speak of the rôle of the inspector,
how the latter must check the statements of the head-masters.

=Distribution of the Pupils in a School.=--To put into practice the
principle which we have just formulated, a circular is distributed to
the schools asking the head-masters to arrange the children in each
class according to age upon a blank table furnished to them. The work
is easy, and the return should be required in a maximum period of
eight days. Within this period twenty elementary schools in Paris
supplied us with the information which we asked for through their
inspectors. We give one of these returns, which we shall examine
briefly, insisting only on the essential points.

We ask, then, that on the table, of which a blank copy is supplied,
the head-master shall give the number of children who on October
1--that is to say, the first day of the session--were of such and such
an age--_e.g._, six or seven years. The normal ages for the different
courses or standards are as follows:

    Preparatory or infant           6 to  7 years of age.
    Elementary, first year          7 to  8   "     "
    Elementary, second year         8 to  9   "     "
    Intermediate, first year        9 to 10   "     "
    Intermediate, second year      10 to 11   "     "
    Senior, first year             11 to 12   "     "
    Senior, second year            12 to 13   "     "

Thus a child is "regular" in instruction when he is found in the class
named at the age indicated.

The normal age for the infant class is from six to seven years. The
children of that age are entered in the table in the appropriate
column. Now consider the extreme ages between six and seven which obey
this condition. On the one hand would be a child exactly six years of
age on admission. Such a child is exactly normal as regards age. He is
behind by 0 years, 0 months, 0 days. At the other extreme would be a
child exactly seven--or, rather, one day less than seven--on
admission. Such a child would be behind by exactly one year.
Consequently, the column headed six to seven years for the infant
class contains children behind by 0 day as a minimum, and one year as
a maximum. The average will therefore be behind by six months
(compared to the ideal). Analogous reasoning would show that the
children of the infant class entered in the column headed five to six
years would, on the average, be six months in advance of their age.
Similarly, those shown in the column headed seven to eight years would
be on the average one and a half years behind.

=Interpretation of the Tables.=--The next point is to sort out the
defectives from these tables. Nothing is easier if we follow the rules
already given. Turning to our tables, we would consider as suspects
the children entered in the fourth and following columns for the
infant class; in column five and following for the elementary course,
first year; in column six and following for the elementary course,
second year; in column eight and following for the intermediate
course, first year; in column nine and following for the intermediate
course, second year. If the reader will calculate the retardation
implied in the columns which we designate, he will see that this
retardation is equal to at least two years under the age of nine, and
equal to at least three years above the age of nine.


          |        |                       | Number of Pupils who, on
          |        |                       | October 1, were--
          |        |                       +------+------+------+------+
          |Regular |                       |      |      |      |      |
   Classes|  Age   |    Courses (Parallel  |5 to 6|6 to 7|7 to 8|8 to 9|
          |(Years).|    Classes = A and B).|Years.|Years.|Years.|Years.|
          |        |Supplementary          |  --  |  --  |  --  |  --  |
          |        |Senior A               |  --  |  --  |  --  |  --  |
   VI.    |11 to 12|   "   B               |  --  |  --  |  --  |  --  |
    V.    |10  " 11|Intermediate (2nd year)|  --  |  --  |  --  |  --  |
   IV. A. | 9  " 10|      "      (1st year)|  --  |  --  |  --  |   9  |
   IV. B. | 9  " 10|      "      (1st year)|  --  |  --  |   1  |   4  |
  III.    | 8  "  9|Elementary (2nd year)  |  --  |  --  |   6  |  14  |
   II.    | 7  "  8|      "    (1st year)  |  --  |   6  |  23  |   8  |
    I.    | 6  "  7|Preparatory            |   3  |  42  |  12  |  --  |
          |        |        Totals         |   3  |  48  |  42  |  35  |
          |        |                       | Number of Pupils who, on
          |        |                       | October 1, were--
          |        |                       +------+------+------+------+
          |Regular |                       | 9 to |10 to |11 to |12 to |
   Classes|  Age   |    Courses (Parallel  |  10  |  11  |  12  |  13  |
          |(Years).|    Classes = A and B).|Years.|Years.|Years.|Years.|
          |        |Supplementary          |  --  |  --  |  --  |  --  |
          |        |Senior A               |  --  |  --  |  --  |  --  |
   VI.    |11 to 12|   "   B               |  --  |   6  |  12  |  16  |
    V.    |10  " 11|Intermediate (2nd year)|   1  |  13  |  17  |   5  |
   IV. A. | 9  " 10|      "      (1st year)|  14  |   9  |   6  |  --  |
   IV. B. | 9  " 10|      "      (1st year)|  15  |  10  |   7  |  --  |
  III.    | 8  "  9|Elementary (2nd year)  |  11  |   2  |  --  |   1  |
   II.    | 7  "  8|      "    (1st year)  |   6  |  --  |  --  |   2  |
    I.    | 6  "  7|Preparatory            |  --  |   8  |   3  |  --  |
          |        |        Totals         |  47  |  48  |  45  |  24  |
          |        |                       | Number of Pupils who, on
          |        |                       | October 1, were--
          |        |                       +------+------+------+       |
          |Regular |                       |13 to |14 to |15 to |       |
   Classes|  Age   |    Courses (Parallel  |  14  |  15  |  16  |Totals.|
          |(Years).|    Classes = A and B).|Years.|Years.|Years.|       |
          |        |Supplementary          |  --  |  --  |  --  |   --  |
          |        |Senior A               |  --  |  --  |  --  |   --  |
   VI.    |11 to 12|   "   B               |   4  |   1  |  --  |   39  |
    V.    |10  " 11|Intermediate (2nd year)|  --  |  --  |   2  |   38  |
   IV. A. | 9  " 10|      "      (1st year)|  --  |  --  |  --  |   38  |
   IV. B. | 9  " 10|      "      (1st year)|  --  |   2  |  --  |   39  |
  III.    | 8  "  9|Elementary (2nd year)  |  --  |   1  |  --  |   35  |
   II.    | 7  "  8|      "    (1st year)  |   2  |  --  |  --  |   47  |
    I.    | 6  "  7|Preparatory            |  --  |  --  |  --  |   68  |
          |        |        Totals         |   6  |   4  |   2  |  304  |

The number of children suspected of mental deficiency obtained by this
method varies extremely from one school to another, independently of
the mistakes which are made by the head-masters with lamentable
frequency. We have found the proportions varying from 0.2 to 10 per
cent., with all the intermediates represented. The average of suspects
for ten girls' schools, with an average of 300 pupils, was 3.7 per
cent.; for eight boys' schools in the same district, and strictly
comparable to the preceding, it was 5.35 per cent. It must be clearly
understood that these figures are provisional. They do not correspond
to real defectives, but to children _suspected_ of mental deficiency;
and, moreover, they do not include the unstable, unless they are also

Having made these deductions, one writes to the head-masters, or
perhaps summons them to a meeting, in order to ascertain the names of
these children and various other particulars.

These particulars will refer to three main points:

1. Give the full names and date of birth of the backward children (by
two or three years, according to the distinctions given above), and
indicate also whether the retardation is explained by irregular
attendance, by want of application, or defective intelligence.

2. Indicate the children who, although they do not belong to the
preceding category, yet appear to be distinctly abnormal.

3. Indicate also the children who are ill-balanced and rebellious to
all discipline in the opinion of several teachers who have had them in
their classes.

We have already received replies which seem to us instructive, and
even carry us beyond the study of the abnormal, as they may throw some
light on the psychology of those who are commonly called "dunces." As
a general rule, the children classed as retarded are the victims of
disease, constitutional debility, or malnutrition. We find included in
our lists some who are the children of nomadic parents; some who have
been kept from school; some who have attended a religious school,
where they learned little but sewing and writing; some who have
changed their school too often; some also who are foreigners, and
understand little French; and, lastly, some who have been kept back in
their studies by unrecognised myopia. Such causes are extrinsic to the
child. The personal causes of retardation are defective intelligence,
sluggishness of mind, insubordination, an eccentric and excitable
nature, a constant want of attention, and, lastly, laziness.

The complete and methodical study of the documents relating to 223
children with a retardation of three years has taught us a number of
interesting facts. It is very rare for the cause of the retardation to
be single. Usually, several causes were at work simultaneously.
Feebleness of mind complicated by illness is noted in 20 per cent. of
the cases. Insufficient school attendance (due to other causes than
illness), in conjunction with feebleness of mind, is met with in 25
per cent. of cases. If, without taking account of those associations
of causes, one enumerates simply the frequency with which each single
cause of retardation is mentioned, one obtains the following

  Feebleness of mind                           50 per cent.
  Insufficient attendance (without illness)    33    "
  Illness                                      25    "
  Lack of application, laziness                 7    "

If we admit, as a hypothesis, that the frequency of each of those four
principal causes indicates its importance, we shall conclude that
laziness very rarely explains a retardation so great as three years,
and that the most important factor is undoubtedly feebleness of mind.
We should have expected the teachers to give much more frequently the
banal reason of lack of application. They have not done so, and these
results confirm in a quite unexpected manner the convention according
to which every retardation of three years should make one suspect
feebleness of mind.

It would be interesting to know whether any children really defective
in intelligence escape the revelation furnished by our tables. We have
put this question in writing to the heads of the schools, and they
have notified fifteen children, or 6 per cent., who seem to them to be
clearly defective, although without a retardation of three years. On
testing the statement, we found that mistakes had been made, and the
sole residue of defectives who had escaped our census consisted of
three subjects who wanted only a month or a few weeks to have shown
clearly a retardation of three years. They were therefore on the
border, and such exceptional cases are always to be found when one
fixes an exact limit. There is no need to worry about them.

=Hostile Head-Masters and Teachers.=--It is important to state that
the procedure for selection which we have outlined can be carried out
without the concurrence of the head-masters. As a matter of fact, one
has to be prepared for everything, even the hostility of the school
staff. It may be that a head-master who has a defective in his school
refrains from mentioning the fact. It may be that he is indifferent,
or does not believe in special education, or simply does not choose to
put himself about; or, again, he may be timid and afraid of trouble,
or may shrink from the recriminations of parents, behind whom he sees
the hostile shadow of some town councillor or journalist. Lastly, he
may be an ignoramus who, even at this time of day, imagines that a
child cannot be a defective unless he has incontinence of urine or a
sugar-loaf head. We have already come across several fellows of this
kind. The sceptical type is most common. We recollect a head-master
who, in response to our inquiry, replied with irritating calmness: "I
have five hundred pupils in my school. I am sure that not one of them
is a defective. You are of a different opinion. Well, my school is
open. Come and see for yourself." And he added with a sceptical smile:
"The school doctor and myself will be very curious to learn how you
manage the inquiry." As a matter of fact, the proportion of defectives
in his school was just the usual one--about 2 per cent.

At the time when the Government Commission was holding its inquiry as
to the number of defectives, we found in the statistical tables which
we had in our hands that whole towns, even as important as
Fontainebleau, had replied "None," yet we knew by personal inquiry
that that reply was wrong.

The systematic reticence of the head-master is therefore already in
evidence, and will certainly turn up again even when the law is in
full operation. Doubtless wiser counsels will prevail in the long run,
and opposition will become less. But it will never disappear entirely.
However, one will not be affected by it in picking out the backward
children, but the children who are abnormal, though not backward, and
the ill-balanced children, will perhaps escape, unless the inspector
visits the school, and, knowing the disposition of the head-master,
takes the precaution of questioning the teachers as to the children in
their class who give them the most trouble in regard to discipline. As
a rule the masters have an interest in pointing out these pupils in
the hope that they will be removed.


In the pedagogical examination the inspector should exercise a measure
of control. It is he who sets the teachers to fill up the schedules,
who interprets the returns, and estimates their value.

Work is better done when it is subject to inspection. The head-masters
will take more care in the selection of the defectives if they know
that all their cases will be examined by a person whose competence is
equal to their own, and whose position is higher. The inspector, who
is generally well acquainted with his personnel, will see at a glance
what he ought to think of the returns which are furnished to him. He
knows that one master is too severe, and another too indulgent. He has
to restrain the overzealous, to stimulate the indifferent, and
encourage the despondent. When it is a question of estimating a
child's want of balance, it is necessary to know the character of the
judge. Some good teachers fail to gain the necessary ascendancy over
one of their pupils, either because they are indulgent where
strictness is necessary, or because by excessive brusqueness and
severity they alienate natures which require to be humoured. The
inspector will succeed in taking all these things into account. He
will interpret correctly the facts which are laid before him, because
it is his business, his _métier_.

=Significance of Irregular Attendance.=--The inspector will begin, let
us suppose, by examining the returns given concerning the backward
children. From the notes sent to him he will be able to distinguish
between the children whose backwardness is due to irregular attendance
and those who may justly be suspected of mental deficiency or want of
balance. He will thus make a first selection.

Here are some examples of the notes referred to:

    _Renné G----_, age thirteen years, is in the intermediate
    course, second year; she is therefore three years behind for her
    age. The explanation given by the teacher is as follows: "Had
    contagious ophthalmia; not admitted to school till ten.
    Intelligence middling." If the return is correct, one is not
    surprised that the child has not made more progress.

    _Suzanne M----_, age twelve and a half years (two years behind);
    always very delicate and frequently absent; of average

    _Yvonne D----_, age ten and a half years (two years behind);
    lived a long time on a boat without going to school;
    intelligence average; very industrious.

    _Eugenie V----_, age eleven and a half years (three years
    behind); educated at a convent school until October last;
    intelligence little developed; slow of comprehension; writes and
    sews pretty well; spelling poor.

    _Suzanne B----_, age eleven and a half years (two years behind);
    an intelligent and industrious child, who has travelled much
    with her parents, and afterwards stayed in a little
    boarding-house. At school since October; she has made great

    _Anna E----_, age eleven and a half years (two years behind);
    born in German Switzerland, brought up in England, and has been
    in Paris only a year and a half.

    _Germaine G----_, age ten years (three years behind); very
    short-sighted. It was only last year that it was noticed that
    this defect of vision was keeping the child from learning to
    read. Since spectacles were provided she has made rapid

    _Marguerite L----_, age ten years (two years behind). This child
    has some affection of the eyes; she has been operated on several

Without pretending to give a final opinion on the above cases, one may
believe that the retardation is due to the ailment or to irregular
attendance. If it were necessary, one might make further inquiries at
the schools previously attended by the child, or find out at the
present school the exact number of days of absence.

In other cases it seems clear that it is the intelligence of the child
that is at fault. For example--

    _Jeanne L----_, age ten years (two years behind); attends school
    regularly; stupid and lazy.

    _Hortense G----_ (two years behind); irritable temper; very
    backward in arithmetic and spelling; intelligence mediocre.

    _Marie R----_ (two years behind); intelligence very mediocre;
    inattentive; progress very slow.

    _Blanche B----_ (three years behind); intelligence much below
    the average; has some slight aptitude for sewing and arithmetic,
    but very backward otherwise; incapable of giving a reply
    indicative of good sense and reflection.

    _Jeanne B----_ (two years behind); intelligence decidedly
    mediocre; none of her answers particularly sensible.

When the inspector has read these notes and formed an opinion on the
children, and obtained as far as necessary additional information
about their school attendance,[7] etc., he will make his first choice.
He will decide which children are to be examined, and will have them
brought to him.

Be it understood, then, that the child must now be presented, and that
it is by questioning him that the inspector will form an opinion of
his mental level. This examination is important. The inspector must
observe the child, induce him to talk, watch the play of his features.
In this way he receives a living impression which rarely deceives an
experienced eye. He will even chat with him a little about
something--for example, the occupation of his parents.... After these
preliminaries, the examination proper begins. It includes the
estimation of the degree of instruction and the degree of

Tests of Instruction.

A child is presented to the inspector, for example, as belonging to
the intermediate course, first year. Is this correct? It may be that
the child is at the foot of the class, or is even incapable of
following the lessons. Thus, it may be that his class gives a very
poor indication of his capacity. There are plenty of cases where the
head-master, in order to please the parents, puts a child in a class
too high for him. A rapid examination will suffice to test the
grading. This testing is absolutely necessary, and presents no
difficulty to the inspectors. They have the fortnightly report brought
to them, examine the pupil's marks and his exercises, whereby they
form a first impression. It is then necessary to ask some questions,
and on this point we have something to say with respect to method.

There are two ways in which the degree of instruction may be tested.
There is what we may call the _casual method_, which consists in
putting the first questions that come into the mind; and there is the
_systematic method_, which consists in putting questions arranged in
advance, whose difficulty is known, and for which we have a scale (p.
54), which shows the average number of errors to be expected from
normal children of each age. The latter method takes no longer than
the former, and is even easier, because it makes no demand on the
imagination. Moreover, we consider it quite indispensable for fixing
in an objective manner the degree of instruction of the defectives on
the day of their admission to the special school. It is very important
that this degree of instruction should be definitely known, because it
will be necessary to refer to it every time one wants to find out to
what extent the child is profiting by the special instruction. We
shall return to this point in our concluding chapter.

It has seemed to us that the test of instruction might bear upon three
exercises, which are easily marked--reading, arithmetic, and spelling.
Here is a very simple table of tests (p. 54), of which we have made
much use. It has been arranged with the help of M. Vaney. The table is
suited to the elementary and to the intermediate course, and that is
sufficient for examining defectives, since none of them are found in
the senior division. It is scarcely necessary to say that this table
of tests is the outcome of careful experiment. We have established
for each age the average acquirements of all the children of that age
whatever their place in school. One might quite as well have taken
into account only the results given by typical children in the class
proper to their age, but on reflection we rejected this proceeding as
arbitrary, because it is affected by the difficulty of the curriculum,
which is constructed _a priori_, whilst the average furnished by all
the children of a given age is less artificial and is an adequate
expression of the reality. Let us remark in passing that these two
methods of calculation do not lead to equivalent results. The average
furnished by the _typical_ children is higher than that furnished by
_all_ the children, for, as we have shown above, more children are
backward than in advance. Lastly, the time of year when the tests are
made is not a matter of indifference. For spelling and arithmetic the
time chosen was the end of February--that is, the middle of the
session. For reading we are obliged to make use of results a little
more advanced, for they were furnished later, namely, in June.


            |              |              |                     |
   Age of   |              |              |                     |
   Children |              |              |                     +
   on       |              |              |                     |
   October  |              | Grade of     |                     |
   1.       |  Course.     | Reading.     | Arithmetic.         |
    Years   |              |              |                     |
    6 to 7  | Preparatory  | Sub-syllabic | From 19 apples take |
            |              | to syllabic  | away 6 (Answer 13)  |
            |              |              |                     |
            |              |              |                     |
            |              |              |                     |
    7 " 8   | Elementary   | Hesitating   | Subtract 8 pence    |
            | (first       |              | from 59 pence.      |
            |  year)       |              | (Answer 51)         |
            |              |              |                     |
            |              |              |                     |
    8 " 9   | Elementary   | Hesitating-  | A box contains 604  |
            | (second      |  fluent      | oranges. If 58 are  |
            |  year)       |              | sold, how many will |
            |              |              | be left?            |
            |              |              | (Answer, 546)       |
            |              |              |                     |
            |              |              |                     |
            |              |              |                     |
            |              |              |                     |
    9 " 10  | Intermediate | Fluent       | To make a dress,    |
            | (first       |              | 7 yards of stuff    |
            |  year)       |              | are required. How   |
            |              |              | many dresses can be |
            |              |              | made with 89 yards, |
            |              |              | and how much will   |
            |              |              | be left over?       |
            |              |              | (Answer, 12 dresses |
            |              |              | and 5 yards left)   |
            |              |              |                     |
   10 " 11  | Intermediate | Fluent-      | A workman makes     |
            | (second      |  expressive  | 250 shillings in    |
            |  year)       |              | February. He        |
            |              |              | spends 195          |
            |              |              | shillings. How      |
            |              |              | much does he save   |
            |              |              | per day, February   |
            |              |              | having 28 days?     |
            |              |              | (Answer,            |
            |              |              | 1s. 11-½d.)         |
            |  Number of Mistakes   |
   Age of   |  in Dictation         |
   Children +-------+-------+-------+
   on       |Phrases|Phrases|Phrases|
   October  | 1, 2, | 1, 2, |1, 2.  |
   1.       | 3, 4. |  3.   |       |Spelling (Dictation).
    Years   |       |       |       |
    6 to 7  |  119  |  62   | 28    | _Phrase 1._ Émile est un petit
            |       |       |       | garçon bien sage, il écoute
            |       |       |       | son papa et sa maman, il va
            |       |       |       | à l'école.
            |       |       |       |
    7 " 8   |  119  |  62   | 30    | _Phrase 2._ J'ai une tête,
            |       |       |       | deux bras, deux jambes, une
            |       |       |       | bouche, vingt dents, une
            |       |       |       | langue, dix doigts.
            |       |       |       |
    8 " 9   |  78   |  47   | 19    | _Phrase 3._ Le soleil brille
            |       |       |       | déjà de ses plus gais rayons.
            |       |       |       | Les hommes partent en
            |       |       |       | chantant. Les bergers sont
            |       |       |       | heureux de la belle journée
            |       |       |       | qui se prépare, ils suivent
            |       |       |       | au pâturage le grand troupeau
            |       |       |       | des vaches pesantes.
            |       |       |       |
    9 " 10  |  42   |  25   | 4     |
            |       |       |       |
            |       |       |       |
            |       |       |       |
            |       |       |       | Phrase 4. Le garçon de ferme,
            |       |       |       | de son pas lourd, entrait
            |       |       |       | dans la grange, encore
            |       |       |       | obscure, ou nous réposions.
            |       |       |       | Les boeufs mugissaient tout
            |       |       |       | bas. Dans la cour le coq, les
   10 " 11  |  11   |  4    | 1     | poules, le chien, allaient
            |       |       |       | et venaient.
            |       |       |       |
            |       |       |       |
            |       |       |       |
            |       |       |       |
            |       |       |       |
            |       |       |       |
            |       |       |       |
            |       |       |       |

Let us now explain the details of the exercises shown on our table.

=Reading.=--The proceeding we adopt consists essentially in
distinguishing five grades of reading:

1. _Sub-Syllabic._--The child reads in syllables, but very slowly and
with many mistakes.

2. _Syllabic._--This consists in stopping at every syllable, but
reading these pretty correctly. Thus the child reads

3. _Hesitating._--There are stops as in (2), but they are less
frequent. The child reads by words or groups of words--e.g., "The
soldier carries--a big gun."

4. _Fluent._--There are no stops except at the marks of punctuation,
but the reading is monotonous, as if the child does not understand
what he reads. The voice may fall at the end of the sentences.

_5. Expressive._--The child shows by his intonation that he
understands what he reads.

We found it necessary, as may well be believed, to use not only the
expressions _syllabic_ reading, _fluent_ reading, etc., but compound
expressions, such as _hesitating-fluent_, _fluent-expressive_, and
even compound expressions with accentuation of one of the epithets, as
hesitating-_fluent_. This is very useful in practice.

We have stated that the scale of reading was founded on experiments
made by M. Vaney at the end of the school year. We have modified it
slightly in consequence of experiments made by ourselves in February.
It may be of interest to give here the table arranged by M. Vaney. It
has been arranged not by age, but by class.

                 |                                              |
                 |     Number of Children who have the          |
                 |       Following Grades of Reading.           |
                 |     |        |          |         |          |
                 |None.|Syllabic|Hesitating| Fluent. |Expressive|Totals.
                 |     |        |          |         |          |
   Infant        |  12 |   26   |     2    |    --   |     --   |  40
   Elementary    |     |        |          |         |          |
    (first year) |  -- |    5   |    32    |     4   |     --   |  41
   Elementary    |     |        |          |         |          |
    (second year)|  -- |   --   |    24    |    11   |      2   |  37
   Intermediate  |     |        |          |         |          |
    (first year) |  -- |   --   |    15    |    18   |      8   |  41
   Intermediate  |     |        |          |         |          |
    (second year)|  -- |   --   |    10    |    19   |      9   |  38
   Intermediate  |     |        |          |         |          |
    (second year)|  -- |   --   |     8    |    11   |     15   |  34
   Senior        |  -- |   --   |    --    |     5   |     35   |  40
                 |     |        |          |         |          |
   Totals        |  12 |    31  |    91    |    68   |     69   |  271

We shall now give some hints as to the method of procedure.

Reading is a test which requires only a minute. One chooses a text
which the children can understand easily, preferably a lively piece
with dialogue, so that one may judge more easily whether the pupil can
read with expression. One should avoid prolonging the reading for more
than forty-five seconds, for a young child tires quickly and reads
worse at the end of a minute than at the beginning. Instead of
contenting oneself with judging that the child reads well or ill,
which does not mean very much, it is a great advantage to adopt these
five grades of reading, which are easy to distinguish with a little
practice, and are less subjective than might be imagined, for two
judges generally give the same mark. On referring to the scale, it
will be noticed that children quickly pass from syllabic reading to
hesitating reading, but the passage from hesitating to fluent reading
is slower and more troublesome. One will notice this difficulty in

By way of example let us quote our judgment of the grades of reading
in the case of some backward children, and our consequent estimates of
the degree of retardation. We draw them from our own observations made
in a class for defectives in Paris.

   Name. |     Age.     |   Grade of Reading.   |  Retardation.
   Coch  | 14     years | _Hesitating_-fluent   | 6     years
   Grio  | 10-½   "     | Hesitating-fluent     | 2-½   "
   Sev   | 13-½   "     | Hesitating-fluent     | 5       "
   Coff  | 11       "   | Syllabic-hesitating   | 4       "
   Ro    | 12       "   | Syllabic-_hesitating_ | 5       "
   Ostro | 12-½   "     | Hesitating-_fluent_   | 4       "

It will be noticed that in spite of their advanced age none of these
children have attained the fluent grade of reading.

In marking the reading one is sometimes at a loss owing to the absence
on the scale of an exact description. Thus little Coff is judged
syllabic-hesitating. The scale does not contain such a combination,
which ought to figure between the syllabic reading of the infant class
and the hesitating reading of the elementary class, first year. One
may calculate the retardation either by admitting the existence of
this intermediate term, or by marking Coff's reading "hesitating."
The choice is of little practical importance, since its effect is a
variation in the amount of retardation of only six months.

=Arithmetic.=--Although arithmetical ability depends upon special
aptitude, and a child may be quite intelligent though backward in
arithmetic, the tests here chosen are so elementary, and the ignorance
one tolerates is so great, that failure is of serious significance. We
follow here the directions of M. Vaney, who has taken the trouble to
simplify them at our request. All the questions in arithmetic ought to
be dictated. This may even be done collectively. It is essential not
to interpose to ask the child what operation is to be done. Such help
would make the work much too easy, and indeed that is the very problem
which has to be solved in the very exact and carefully considered form
in which it has been stated. It is the problem rather than the
operation which requires intelligence. Moreover, it will be noted that
the difficulty of our mode of expression is calculated. The words
_subtract_, _take away_, _remain_, ought not to be replaced by
synonyms, and still less should they be explained. Even when, as often
happens, the child makes a mistake in the first problem (for example,
19-6 = 12), he must not be allowed to stop there; his mistake might be
due to carelessness. One must always try the higher problems until one
obtains a clear demonstration that the child is incapable of solving
them. M. Vaney has suggested a scale of marking for these sums. It
enables one to take into account slight differences by the aid of a
system of points. Here it is:

_Correction of Sums._

    _First Sum_ (1 point).--1 point for correct answer (_vide_ p.

    _Second Sum_ (2 points).--1 point for subtraction; 1 point for
    correct answer.

    _Third Sum_ (3 points).--1 point for 604 correctly written; 1
    point for subtraction; 1 point for correct answer.

    _Fourth Sum_ (4 points).--2 points for correct division (1 if
    wrong); 2 points for the remainder (1 if obtained by long

    _Fifth Sum_ (5 points).--2 points for the subtraction (1 if
    answer wrong); 3 points for correct division (2 if it is wrong).

    _Sixth Sum_ (6 points).--A dressmaker buys 8 yards of velvet at
    9s. 6d. a yard and 25 yards of cloth; she pays for the whole £6.
    Find the price of the cloth per yard. 2 points for the price of
    the velvet; 2 points for the price of the cloth (1 for
    subtraction, if answer wrong); 2 points for price of cloth per
    yard (1 for division if answer wrong).

    _Seventh Sum_ (7 points).--A merchant mixed 25 pints of wine at
    2s. a pint with 60 pints at 2s. 6d. a pint; at how much per pint
    must he sell the mixture in order to gain 55s.? etc.

This scale enables us to determine by the total number of points
obtained the level of the child in arithmetic, and at the same time we
find out what sums can be done by the pupils of each age. This is
shown in the table.


  All the |Average|Children |Average|                          |Average
  Children|Points.|in Proper|Points.| All Children in Class--  |Points.
    of--  |       | Class.  |       |                          |
   6 years|  1.45 | 6 years |   1   |Infant                    |  1.5
   7   "  |  3.93 | 7   "   |   6   |Junior (first year)       |  6.5
   8   "  |  7.00 | 8   "   |   7   |  "    (second year)      | 6.83
   9   "  |  9.65 | 9   "   |  14   |Intermediate (first year) |16.00
  10   "  | 15.47 |10   "   |  23   |Intermediate (second year)|22.42
  11   "  | 21.47 |11   "   |  29   |Senior                    |28.45
  12   "  | 22.50 |         |       |                          |
  13   "  | 24.75 |         |       |                          |

It will be noticed in the table that the averages are a little less
when calculated on _all_ the children. We have indicated this
difference already, and have explained the reason for it. We have
based our scale upon the marks obtained by all the children.

In practice we consider that M. Vaney's system of points is not
indispensable. It is sufficient to find out whether or not the pupil
can do the sum set. If he can, he is at that level; if not, he must
be placed in the grade below. Some examples will show how we use these
results. We select them from a class of defectives.

    _Roger B----_, age ten and a half years, is asked orally, for he
    cannot write: "If I had 19 apples and ate 6, how many would be
    left?" He replies first 9, then 6. One then tries easier sums.
    _Q._ "I have 4 apples, and eat 1?" _R._ "Three are left." _Q._
    "I have 12 apples, and eat 2?" _R._ "There are 9 left." _Q._ "I
    have 8 apples, and eat 2?" _R._ "There are 7 left." Evidently
    this child does not clear even the first step. He has therefore
    four years and a half of retardation.

    In this connection let us remark that as Roger is a child whose
    attendance has been regular, it follows that in his four and a
    half years at school he has scarcely learned more than a normal
    child learns in two months. We recently met with a similar case
    at Bicêtre. This was a child of twelve, who had begun to learn
    his letters at the age of four, and who did not yet know how to
    spell! In presence of such cases one may well ask whether the
    teacher who has not managed in four and a half years or in eight
    years to teach a defective child what a normal child learns in a
    month has not wasted his own time and that of the defective. At
    this point let us call attention to a defect in the mechanical
    calculation of retardation. Little Roger, who is ten and a half
    years, and cannot yet read by syllables, has only four and a
    half years of retardation, if we apply to him the usual rule. It
    would therefore appear that he is at the same level of
    intelligence as a child of thirteen and a half, who belongs to
    the intermediate course, first year, for the latter has also a
    retardation of four years and a half. The error of this method
    of calculation is at once apparent. The real significance of
    retardation is proportionate to the class and course which the
    pupil has reached. We shall return presently to the exact
    estimation of retardation.

    Let us quote another example to show the application of the
    arithmetical test.

    _Ostrow_, twelve and a half years, replies correctly to
    questions 1, 2, and 3. At the fourth he hesitates and begins by
    multiplying 7 by 89, and obtains as answer 783, which is doubly
    inexact, because he ought not to have multiplied, and the
    multiplication is incorrect. Then he draws back, and tries a
    division of 89 by 7; he obtains an incorrect answer (11), which
    does not satisfy him. Finally, he tries a multiplication: says 7
    times 10 makes 70. He next adds 7 several times to reach 89, but
    he becomes confused, and finishes by finding the number 13,
    which is almost correct. This child is therefore at stage 4; he
    does not clear it, but he attempts it. Look at the scale. We
    give him full points for Problems 1, 2, and 3, plus 2 points for
    Problem 4, or a total of 8, which puts him at the level of
    children of eight and a half years, which amounts to a
    retardation of four years.

=Spelling.=--The test of spelling is a piece of dictation given
individually or collectively. The scale contains the first phrases of
the dictation. We reproduce them all here, pointing out the
grammatical difficulties which they contain, and the scale for marking
faults which seemed to us most fair. [We quote the phrases in French,
as a translation would not indicate the real difficulties. It will be
observed that in many cases correct spelling implies grammatical

    _Phrase 1._--To write phonetically, without liaison, a phrase
    dictated in the ordinary vocabulary of the child.

    _Example._--Émile est un petit élève bien sage; il écoute son
    papa et sa maman; il va à l'école.

    _Phrase 2._--To put the _s's_ of the plural to words chosen from
    the vocabulary of the child.

    _Example._--J'ai une tête, deux bras, deux jambes, une bouche,
    vingt dents, une langue, et dix doigts.

    _Phrase 3._--Plural of qualifying adjectives in simple cases;
    verbs to the third person plural, present indicative.

    _Example._--Le soleil brille déjà de ses plus _gais_ rayons. Les
    hommes _partent_ en chantant. Les bergers sont _heureux_ de la
    belle journée qui se _prépare_: ils suivent au pâturage le
    _grand_ troupeau des vaches _pesantes_.

    _Phrase 4._--Feminine of the qualifying adjectives without
    phonetic indication; verbs with the plural endings _ons_, _ont_,
    _ez_, _aient_.

    _Exercise._--Le garçon de ferme, de son pas lourd, _entrait_
    dans la grange encore _obscure_, ou nous _réposions_. Les boeufs
    _mugissaient_ tout bas. Dans la cour le coq, les poules, le
    chien, _allaient_ et _venaient_.

    _Phrases 5, 6, and 7._--Finals of verbs in the singular of the
    different tenses of the four conjugations. Past participle with
    or without _avoir_. Infinitive in _er_, and past participle in

    _Example._--Joyeux merle, ne _viens_ pas dans le bocage.
    _Prends_ garde à ce méchant qui _veut_ te saisir et
    t'_enfermer_. Pendant que je te _parle_, tu _viens picorer_ les
    raisins que l'oiseleur a _disposés_ comme un piège. Ils sont
    _garnis_ de glu: si tu y _touches_, c'en est fait de ta liberté.

_Method of Marking Mistakes._

    One mistake for a letter omitted.
    One mistake for a letter too much.
    One mistake for a letter substituted for another.

    There may therefore be several mistakes in the same word, but
    the number of mistakes for any word cannot be greater than the
    number of letters in the word. A word omitted counts as many
    mistakes as it has letters.

    The liaison of two words counts for one mistake. Failure to join
    the two parts of a word also counts one mistake.

It is to be noticed that we do not speak of grades of spelling--that
is to say, of different phrases which the children of each age should
be able to write without mistake. No doubt such could be found. But we
have been content to count the mistakes; it is by the number of
mistakes that the children of each age are distinguished.

The dictation given in February by M. Vaney in his school and
corrected by the teachers there has enabled us to draw up the
following table, which shows the number of mistakes committed, counted
by the method indicated above:[8]

                 |      |                     |     Phrases.
                 |      |                     +----+----+----+----+----
    Children.    |Class.|       Course.       |1st |2nd |3rd |4th |5th
   6 to  7 years |  1   | Preparatory         |13  |22  | -- | -- |--
   7 to  8 years |  2   | Elementary (first   | 6  |15  | 32 | -- |--
                 |      |   year)             |    |    |    |    |
   8 to  9 years |  3   | Elementary (second  | 2  |10  | 19 | 20 |--
                 |      |   year)             |    |    |    |    |
   9 to 10 years |  4   | Intermediate (first | 0  | 2  |6.6 |6.9 |17
                 |      |   year)             |    |    |    |    |
  10 to 11 years |  5   | Intermediate (second| 0  | 0  |  4 |  4 |12
                 |      |   year)             |    |    |    |    |
  11 to 12 years |  6   | Senior              | 0  | 0  |0.6 |0.7 | 5

To show how we classify a child from the point of view of spelling,
let us take an example. We shall choose _Ostrow_, the defective whom
we have already tested in arithmetic. He writes the first phrase with
one mistake, the second with one mistake, the third with eight
mistakes; he is at the level of a child of nine to ten (_vide_ Table,
p. 54). He has therefore a retardation of three years. He must be
reckoned as slightly feeble-minded.[9]

We now understand the manner of judging the capacity of a child in
arithmetic, reading, and spelling. Which of all these tests is of the
greatest value? We shall reply to this question by giving a summary
in a few words of the tests we applied to twenty children in a special
class. The amount of retardation varied considerably from one child to
another, and for the same child from one test to another. On the
average, the amount of retardation was 3.3 years for spelling, 4 years
for reading, and 4.5 years for arithmetic. These children did not do
so badly in spelling; there was even one who was at the normal level.
It was especially in the problems that their deficiency was
noticeable, because the problem requires not only memory, but some
understanding. They have great difficulty in defining what is the
proper arithmetical operation. When addition is necessary they have a
tendency to subtract, and if they ought to divide they will more
readily multiply. These mistakes lead to absurd results, which usually
do not put them about, unless their attention is drawn to the
absurdity. A defective will admit quite readily that if I have 604
apples, and sell 58, I shall have 662 left. These results show that in
the ordinary school they do, we will not say too much spelling, but
too little arithmetic in comparison to the amount of spelling.
Finally, we again insist upon the evidential value of methodical
tests. We demand that the elementary school inspector should have
these tests carried out without assistance to the pupils, without
intervention to indicate the solution or the step to take. He must
neither assist nor do the lesson, but simply note the result achieved.
He must therefore reduce himself to the easy rôle of a benevolent

=Retardation and Knowledge Percentage.=--We said above, in estimating
retardation, account should be taken of the course to which the pupil
belongs--that is to say, the grade of instruction to which he has
already attained. A child of nine years of age who has a retardation
of three years has learned absolutely nothing; on the other hand, a
child of twelve years who has a retardation of three years has learned
something, since he has reached the intermediate course, first year.
The difference between the two pupils is apparent; probably it will
increase still more as years go on. To understand the matter clearly,
it is necessary to compare the amount of retardation with the period
of school attendance. The latter may be represented by the figure 100.
Thus, our child of nine, who has learned nothing, has a retardation of
three years in three years at school--that is to say, a percentage of
0; our child of twelve, who is in the "intermediate course, first
year," has made in six years half the normal progress; he has
therefore a "knowledge percentage" of 50. Such figures have evidently
a quite different significance from those of the amount of
retardation. Our opinion is that it suffices to make use of the simple
calculation of retardation in selecting the defectives, for it is an
easy and useful method; but when one is in the presence of a child,
and desires to estimate his knowledge, not only for the actual moment,
but with reference to his future and his capacity for learning, it is
necessary to note also, and more especially, his "knowledge

We suggest the following schedule to be filled up after the
examination of the child:

=Examination of Instruction of a Child proposed for Special Class.=

  Date of examination:
  Place of examination:
  Full name of pupil:
  Date of birth of pupil:
  This child has attended .......... school, ...... class.
  Attendance regular or irregular?
  Has he been able to follow his class?
  What is the amount of his retardation?
    (Syllabic, hesitating, fluent, expressive, intermediate--_e.g._,
    Observations on reading:
    The pupil can do the problems noted without mistake:
      (Refer to scale.)
    Observations on arithmetic:
    Phrase dictated:
    Number of mistakes:
    Retardation in reading (taking account of school attendance):
    Retardation in arithmetic (_ibid._):
    Retardation in spelling (_ibid._):
    Knowledge percentage:
  Name and position of examiner:

In spite of the lengthy details into which we enter, it is evident
that all this work of examination can be done pretty rapidly. The
arithmetic alone is a little long, because it is necessary to allow
time to put the child at his ease. We may put the total examination at
fifteen minutes. Often it will be possible to abridge the time. The
inspector is now in a position to estimate the retardation of the
pupil and his knowledge percentage. He has several means at his
disposal--the evidence of the teachers, the notes concerning the
pupil, the examination of his copybook, observation of the attitude of
the child, his physiognomy, etc., and, above all, the exact and
personal test which he has made.

Is this enough? When the inspector has established the retardation and
determined its causes, may he, should he, give his opinion
immediately? In most cases, without doubt, a further inquiry is not
necessary. But in other cases the need of further inquiry is felt.
Instruction is not everything, and there are some children who have
difficulty in assimilating school knowledge owing to want of aptitude,
to inattention, to laziness, who are yet quite intelligent. It is the
intelligence of these children that one would like to determine, and
for this it is necessary to make use of some tests of intelligence. We
propose, therefore, for the inspectors a last examination, a
psychological one. Let no one accuse us of complicating the
examinations. We do not impose them, we do not even advise them in
all cases. But these tests are none the less very valuable tools to
which one is very happy to have recourse when one feels embarrassed.


This consists in putting the following questions,[10] which have been
grouped in such a manner that the four first can be answered by normal
children at seven years of age, the five following by normal children
at nine years of age, and the four last by normal children at eleven
years of age.

Tests of Intelligence.

_Seven Years._

    1. If you were late for school, what would you do?

    2. If you lost a train, what would you do?

    3. If one is lazy and does not want to work, what happens?

    4. If you were tired and had not enough money to take an
    omnibus, what would you do?

_Nine Years._

    5. If one needed sixpence, how could one get it?

    6. Why should we not spend all our money, but put a little past?

    7. If you break an object that does not belong to you, what
    should you do?

    8. If a companion should strike you without meaning it, what
    should you do?

    9. If you require some good advice, what should you do?

_Eleven Years._

    10. Before taking part in anything important, what should you

    11. Why do we forgive a bad deed done in anger more readily than
    a bad deed done without anger?

    12. If anyone asks your opinion about a person whom you know
    very little, what would you do?

    13. Why should one judge a person by his acts rather than by his

These questions present various difficulties, both in thought and in
vocabulary. We have tried them upon a great number of school children,
and they correspond pretty exactly to the level of children at the
ages indicated.

The answers of the children may be good, passable, mediocre, or
negative (the child makes no reply), or even absurd or unintelligible.
In marking the replies one does not take account of a wrong word or an
awkward phrase, but considers the meaning and whether the child has
really understood. It may seem that marking these replies would be
rather delicate and arbitrary, but in practice the difficulty is not
great. Here are some examples:

(10) The reply, "Ask some capable person, a master, a parent," is a
good reply. "Ask it," "Listen for it," are passable replies.

(7) The reply, "Pay and apologize," is good. "Pay for it," is

(8) The reply, "Forgive him," is better than the reply, "Don't tell

(1) The reply, "Hurry up," is better than, "Ring the bell," "Hurry
to-morrow," "One is kept in."

(3) The reply, "One remains ignorant," is better than, "One is

(4) The reply, "Take a rest, then walk," is better, being more
explicit, than simply, "Walk."

We mark the good replies 3, the passable 2, the mediocre 1, the absurd
and silence 0. Silence sometimes makes one hesitate. It may result
from timidity, or even from prolonged reflection. It is necessary,
without changing the form of the question, to encourage the child and
to press him to reply. With a little practice one can easily see who
is trying to find an answer and who does not understand.

We have stated that normal children of eleven years of age replied to
the questions 10 to 13. It must be understood that by this we mean
that the majority replied. There are no tests which can characterise
all the subjects without exception of a given group. There are always
failures. By way of example, we shall quote the observations we made
in an elementary school with our questions 10 to 13, which we put to
all the children of eleven, who were distributed, according to their
ability, in the different classes. There were thirty-six of these
pupils. The maximum of marks obtainable was 12, since there were four
questions, and a good reply was worth 3. We then obtained the
following averages:

Tests of Intelligence put to Normal Children of Eleven Years of Age.

                                 Average Marks.
    Senior, first year                11
    Intermediate, second year          6
    Intermediate, first year           4.7

In the "intermediate course, second year," there were two children who
obtained 0 and 1. In the "intermediate course, first year," there were
four who got 0, and one who got only 1. What were these pupils, who
had certainly not reached the average intellectual level of eleven
years? Two are said to be defectives by the head-master. Let us
subtract them, and there remain five; and these work sufficiently well
to remain in their class and to follow the lessons. Their success is a
very important fact. A child may not have very much intelligence, but
if he has a good memory, application, and will, he is regular in his
studies, and this compensates for the mental feebleness. We have often
noticed this. If a child is regular in his school work, the question
whether he is a defective does not present itself. It only presents
itself if the case is reversed. Supposing he is very clearly backward,
by two years, by three years, with a sufficient school attendance. If,
in spite of this retardation, the psychological examination shows that
he is all the same quite intelligent, this is a favourable
circumstance of which he should have the advantage. In other terms,
the psychological examination is capable of showing that he is normal,
even when he is behindhand in his studies. This examination cannot, in
any case, serve to make him be regarded as defective if he is regular
in his studies. This is why we place this examination last.

Here are some very good replies from normal children:

    _G. R----_:

    10. It would be necessary to consider where the affair would
    lead us.

    11. Because when a bad action is done without anger one knows
    what one is doing, while when one is angry one does not know
    what one is doing.

    12. One should say nothing. If one does not know the person one
    cannot tell what he is.

    13. By his words he may deceive us. By his acts we can tell what
    he is.


    10. It is necessary to think what one is going to do.

    11. Because when one acts without anger one has thought
    beforehand, and is more to blame; while, on the other hand, it
    is an act of passion, and afterwards one regrets what one has

    12. I would say that it would be necessary to know him first and
    then afterwards to judge him, not to say anything bad or good
    about him without knowing him.

    13. Because there are people who say words and often do not do

Here are some replies which are mediocre or absurd:

    12. You should try to ask the particulars of the person you do
    not know. (Mediocre.)

    13. Because his acts are more terrible while his words are less
    threatening. (Mediocre.)

    11. Because the action which has been done in anger is not so
    violent. (Mediocre.)

    13. Because you must not speak after the person who speaks.

In a class of defectives of eleven years of age we obtained from seven
children an average of replies equal to 1.3. This figure, therefore,
is considerably less than that of the normal children regular in
their studies, and even than that of the normal with a retardation of
two years. Let us note in passing a very curious fact. We had had to
examine these defectives before their admission into the special
class. Now, the teachers sent us as defective two children who were
clearly intelligent, for one of them obtained five marks and the other
eight. Let us give the replies of the latter, whose name was Cler, age
eleven years:

    10. You would have to think. (Good.)

    11. Because anger is less serious. (Absurd.)

    12. Say nothing bad about him, because I do not know him well.

    13. Because words are not correct. It is not certain that he
    will do it. (Passable.)

These replies are evidently not very brilliant, but they are so
superior to the level of a defective that we have sent this child back
to the ordinary school. We have since learned a fact which was not
originally communicated to us. This child came from the country, and
he did not begin to go to school until the age of ten.

To sum up, we offer the psychological examination as a means of
rehabilitating a child who has a marked degree of retardation. That is
its sole utility. Never, in any case, must this examination be used to
label as defective a child who keeps up with his lessons.

       *       *       *       *       *

A last word regarding the necessity of these examinations.

We know that, after having read the preceding pages, more than one
inspector, more than one teacher, will exclaim, "What is the use of
all this? I am quite accustomed to questioning children, and I don't
require such precautions in order to distinguish between those who are
intelligent and those who are not. By two or three questions which are
quite familiar to me I can judge the state of instruction."

We have paid homage to the ability of the teachers and inspectors
sufficiently often to be permitted to maintain here against those who
would contradict us the necessity of our methods or of others of a
similar kind. In order to determine the degree of intelligence or the
state of instruction of a child one would require to have in mind the
normal levels. Now, frankly, who knows what these are? Let any
inspector, any teacher, glance over our test questions. He will be
very much at a difficulty to say whether it is at nine years or at
seven years that a child ought to be able to reply suitably to a
particular question. We will go even farther. Let an inspector look at
our scale, and say at what age reading is "fluent," at what age a
child should write the third phrase with less than ten mistakes. Just
let him try, and he will find the result. Let us add that people who
are neither inspectors nor teachers will be still more embarrassed. We
recollect that at the recent opening of a special class some eminent
people appeared much astonished at the intelligence of the pupils.
They were surprised at children of twelve years who made replies of
which in reality normal children of eight should have been capable. It
is impossible to form a correct judgment about matters so delicate
unless one makes use of exact tests. We insist upon this because we
foresee that all who visit the class for defectives will be subject to
this illusion. All the more will they have an optimistic tendency to
overestimate the intelligence and instruction of the children since
they know in advance that they are going to see defectives, and
consequently have a preconceived expectation of seeing degraded
imbeciles with low foreheads and dirty habits. They will be quite
surprised to find that the great majority of defectives do not answer
to this description, and seeing that they have fallen into an error,
they will correct themselves as usual by falling into the opposite

=Estimation of Want of Balance.=--If it is easy to determine
backwardness by a direct examination of a child's state of
instruction, the difficulty of establishing a lack of mental balance
is, on the other hand, very great. Such want of balance is indicated
by breaches of discipline, inattention, naughtiness, lying, violence,
brutality, etc. But it would be a very unruly child who would not
behave quietly when taken apart by the inspector. Isolated in the
examination room, surrounded by strange, grave people, the child
shrinks into himself. He has little occasion or desire for a display
of rebellion or naughtiness when his comrades are not there to admire
him. Possibly an exact estimation of his reactions, of his motor
ability, of his power of attention, would indicate the presence of
some anomalies; but this is not certain, and is not to be relied upon.
There may be some hope in that direction for the pedagogy of the
future, but scientific investigations cannot help us to-day. In short,
mental want of balance cannot, in the majority of cases, be the object
of direct examination.

How, then, can it be estimated? Indirectly, by the evidence of others.

The inspector, then, must be content to accept the facts which are
given to him by the teacher, but he must not accept them altogether on
trust. Are these facts correct? Are they probable? Is any evidence of
them to be found? Have they been altered in the telling? Such will be
the first queries to awaken the critical spirit of the inspector. Then
it must not be forgotten that he can question the parents, and hear
their replies before letting them know the opinion of the teacher, and
that everything they say will help him to judge not only the child,
but the family circumstances in which he lives. The ill-balanced are
often spoiled, or only children, or children not looked after, or
children whose father has disappeared. The sons of widows form a
considerable contingent. Now, the inspector will gain a good deal of
information from the school history of the child. The ill-balanced is
a nomad. He has attended several schools. It is important to find out
what impression he has left behind him. The proof of want of balance
is not to be taken from a single teacher. If three teachers, at least,
whose pedagogic reputation is good, agree about a child, the chances
are that their estimate is correct. The inspector will resort to such
controls, and if he is not satisfied, and if the alleged facts are not
very serious, he will remove the child to another class or another
school rather than send him to a class for defectives.

=Elimination of Hospital or Asylum Cases.=--Only defectives likely to
improve are to be admitted to the special schools. That is only common
sense. Everyone knows that the epithet "defective" does not belong to
a single type. There are various categories which extend between two
extremes: the purely _vegetative idiot_ who cannot speak, or walk, or
even feed himself; and the slightly _feeble-minded_, who may easily be
taken for normal. In spite of all our sympathy for these poor
creatures whom Nature has treated so cruelly, we could not think of
supplying them without distinction with all the benefits of education.
It is certain that the worst affected would not profit much thereby.
It is pure folly to devote six or eight years to teaching the letters
to a child who will never be able to read, or who, if he should manage
to read a little, will not understand what he reads. To such an
unfortunate it is quite enough to give lessons in walking, feeding,
dressing himself, and in simple occupations, such as dusting or
sweeping. Such cases do not require schools so much as places where
they can be taken care of. These will cost less to establish,
especially in the country. Educational efforts should be concentrated
on the defectives who are less profoundly affected. It is they alone
whom one should try to instruct. This is the practice which is rightly
followed abroad. For administrative purposes the defectives of
different grades may be divided into two groups, medical cases and
educational cases, or preferably, in order to obviate the use of the
equivocal term "medical," we may speak simply of hospice cases and
school cases to show the difference in their destination. The exact
terms employed matter little so long as we understand what we mean by
the words.

We have just pointed out the importance of reserving the schools for
defectives for improvable cases. But it is necessary to correct this
word "improvable," because all defectives can be improved more or
less. Their asserted _arrest_ of development is not complete, and the
expression is equivocal. It would be better to replace the word
"improvable" by the following more precise phrase: "Capable of being
taught to gain, in part, their own living." Which of them are in this
position? Unfortunately, we do not know. All such questions should
have been solved long ago, since thousands of defectives have passed
into the hospices. It would have been enough to have followed them up,
to have found out what became of them, and to have drawn conclusions.
But this has never been done methodically, and for the present we are
reduced to conjecture. The nearest estimate we can form is that the
social value of any individual case, not epileptic, is in inverse
proportion to the degree of deficiency; the imbecile would seem to be
more improvable than the idiot, and the feeble-minded than the
imbecile. But this is simply hypothesis, and we accept it quite
provisionally, until exact investigations have been made which will
permit us to replace conjecture by demonstrated truth. Consequently we
shall open wide the doors of the school to the feeble-minded and close
them to the idiots, while as to the imbeciles, we shall have to find
out whether the proper place for them is the school or the hospice. It
will be necessary to find out in what measure, and at the price of
what effort, an imbecile can be instructed to the point, say of being
able to read. There are two other indications which may help us. Cases
of _acquired_ mental deficiency--that is to say, cases who have
become defective as the result of something which affected them after
birth--are usually less improvable than _congenital_ cases, or cases
where the deficiency is due to some cause acting before birth. And,
secondly, cases affected by epilepsy, with fits or frequent attacks of
vertigo, usually undergo a progressive mental deterioration.

What distinctions can we draw between the different degrees of mental
deficiency? Such a question, we think, might be asked with regard to
the ill-balanced as well as the defective. With respect to the former,
we have no criterion at present to offer. It will be enough to pick
out and send to the hospices _the most ill-balanced_, those whose
presence among normal children would be a danger owing to the
perversion of their instincts or the brutality of their impulses.

With regard to mental deficiency, we think it possible to formulate
precise definitions which will enable all competent persons to agree
as to the diagnosis of idiocy, imbecility, and feeble-mindedness. We
are aware that in making this statement we are running counter to the
general practice of medical alienists. When these, in an admission
certificate, call a child "idiot," "feeble-minded," or "imbecile,"
they are rarely in agreement with the confrère who, a few days later,
examines the same child, and makes a new diagnosis. We have made a
methodical comparison between the admission certificates filled up for
the same children with a few days' interval by the doctors of
Sainte-Anne, Bicêtre, the Salpêtrière, and Vaucluse. We have compared
several hundreds of these certificates, and we think we may say
without exaggeration that they looked as if they had been drawn by
chance out of a sack. This is a fact which many alienists have already
suspected, and Dr. Blin[11] has expressed himself frankly on the

What is the cause of such contradictions? They result, in great
measure from the use of ill-defined terms. To the majority of
alienists, the idiot is one who is _profoundly_ affected in his mental
faculties, the imbecile is _a little less_, and the feeble-minded
_less still_. What mean those words: "profoundly," "a little less,"
"less still"? No one defines them. They are taken to be indefinable.
It is no wonder they are understood so differently. All this trouble
would disappear if the following definitions were adopted:


_An idiot is any child who never learns to communicate with his kind
by speech--that is to say, one who can neither express his thoughts
verbally nor understand the verbally expressed thoughts of others,
this inability being due solely to defective intelligence, and not to
any disturbance of hearing, nor to any affection of the organs of
phonation._ Since a normal child of two years of age can understand
the speech of others, and can make itself understood by others, so far
as its simple wants are concerned, it is evident that the distinction
between an idiot and a normal child is easily made.


_An imbecile is any child who fails to learn how to communicate with
his kind by means of writing--that is to say, one who can neither
express his thoughts in writing, nor read writing or print, or, more
correctly, understand what he reads, this failure being due to
defective intelligence, and not to any defect of vision or any
paralysis of the arm which would explain his inability._ One will not
count a child an imbecile until he has had much more than the normal
time to learn to read and write. The normal time in schools is six
months. A child who does not yet know his letters after being at
school for two years is likely to be an imbecile.

Spontaneous writing or writing from dictation must not be confounded
with mere transcription from a copy. The latter is a kind of drawing,
and may be acquired by some who are incapable, from defective
intelligence, of writing from dictation. Nor must real reading be
confused with reading which consists in transforming graphic signs
into sounds without meaning to the reader. The distinction can easily
be made by giving the child in writing some simple order which he is
to carry out, such as "Shut the door," "Knock three times on the


_A feeble-minded child is one who can communicate with his kind by
speech or writing, but who shows a retardation of two or three years
(according to the rules already indicated) in his school studies, this
retardation not being due to insufficient or irregular attendance._

These distinctions are pedagogical. The inspector will make them
easily. If he is ever in doubt, he has a doctor at hand who will
advise him.

Obviously the idiot is a case for the asylum or hospice. Obviously
also the feeble-minded is a case for the school. There remains the
imbecile, about whom we may hesitate. From the moment the imbecile
proves himself unable to learn to read or write, his place is in the
workshop. We must find out to what extent he can profit by special

=True and False Defectives.=--We shall formulate a rule which will
surely meet with no objection. It is that _none but defectives should
be admitted to schools for defectives_.

The moment we begin to apply this rule in practice, however, we meet
with difficulties. There are normal children who are very backward in
their studies. They cannot profitably follow the proper class for
their age. Such children are numerous, and of great interest
socially. As they are really intelligent they can certainly be helped
to make up for lost time. Various terms have been applied to them, but
it will be simplest to call them "backward" or "ignorant." In Belgium
many such "ignorant" children were admitted to the first school for
defectives. In fact, they formed the majority, and one can understand
how easily the teachers collected them. These are the cases which give
such grand results, and are sometimes exhibited as genuine defectives
who have been improved by teaching. In France it has been agreed that
the ignorant are not to be admitted to the classes for defectives. The
principle is sound. But let us not confuse the questions by
approaching them both at once. Let us consider the defectives first,
the ignorant or backward next. Even when we are agreed as to the
principle, we find difficulties in practice. In the first place, there
are the doubtful cases, children of whom we cannot say, even after
prolonged examination, whether they are defective or backward. Demoor,
in the return he published concerning the pupils of the first school
for defectives at Brussels, noted a considerable number of these
doubtful cases.[12] What should be done with such cases? The best
thing to do is to admit them to the classes for defectives, writing on
their schedule a large mark of interrogation in order to guard against
future deception. Again, it is not always easy to establish irregular
or insufficient attendance when this is the cause of the backwardness.
The child may have been at several schools, and at some the teaching
may have been faulty. There are some schools which practically produce
mediocrity. In the next place, it is necessary to discover the causes
of defective attendance. Sometimes these causes are completely
extrinsic to the nature of the child--frequent removals, constant
domestic disturbances, laxity of the parents, an infirm parent to be
taken care of, etc. In such cases the interpretation presents no
difficulty. But sometimes the case is more embarrassing. It may be a
thin child, who has been out of sorts for a long time. Without being,
properly speaking, of defective intelligence, he is weakly, anæmic,
and consequently incapable of sustained attention. Would it not be
advisable to admit such a case, at least as a temporary measure, into
the class for defectives, until his system had recovered tone? Should
we not also open the door to cases retarded by adenoids? And if we
enter upon this work of charity, shall we not also accept some of
those physically abnormal children who, affected by Little's disease
or Pott's disease, are so little at their ease among their more robust
companions? And what, lastly, is to be done with children retarded in
their studies by an unrecognised myopia? It is evident that the
question ceases to seem simple and easy when regarded closely. We may
rigorously exclude from the class of defectives the child who is
simply ignorant, but there is a whole series of complex cases
intermediate between the ignorant and the defective. The inspector,
let us say in anticipation, will consult his colleague the doctor with
advantage about all these border-line cases. No breach of principle is
involved here. It is necessary to be guided by circumstances. _The
essential point is to mark distinctly upon the child's schedule the
special reasons for his admission, in order to prevent ultimate
deception in the shape of presenting the child as an average defective
who has been improved by tuition in the special class._

       *       *       *       *       *

We now come to the normal, the really normal cases. There can
evidently be no doubt as to what is to be done with them. They are
provided for. They have only to remain in the ordinary school. We hope
they will be kept there. We hope it; we even demand it with all our
power. But we are not certain that it will be possible to save them
from the special schools. How many vital interests are leagued
against the keeping of that rule! And interests, when they are not
looked after, are like the millions of ship-worms which slowly and
silently corrode the most solid barriers.

In the first place, there is the interest of the parents. When it is a
question of secondary education, of rich or middle-class parents,
there is nothing to fear. The bourgeois do not love their defectives;
they are ashamed of them. They send them to a distance, to some
private institution. They never speak of them to anyone; they do not
visit them; they abandon them. But the common people have more heart
or less prejudice. They will not be afraid of the special school for
defectives any more than they are of the hospice. When they have a
really defective child in the hospice, they never cease to visit him.
We can imagine the results which such a state of mind will bring
about. If these fathers and mothers of the working class were to hear
of the existence of a boarding-school where children receive board,
lodging, and clothing, they would flock to obtain admission even for
their normal children, although it were well known that the school
admitted only the feeble-minded, defectives, and fools. If necessary,
they would get municipal councillors to back up their demands. This
abuse was practised recently in the case of a reformatory, which was
rapidly filled with ordinary children, whose sole characteristic was
this--that their parents had political backing.

This fraud--for it is one--will not be perpetrated in the case of the
special schools and classes where no greater material advantages are
given to the pupils than is the case in the public schools, but it is to
be feared that it will recur in the case of special boarding-schools for
defectives. Such schools, if they are not carefully looked after, will
turn out plenty of normal young people!

And this is not all. It is not only the parents who will try to
deceive. Think also of the heads of the schools for defectives. What
is their interest? Take note of it, for it is important. One should
always try to foresee the results of human frailty. In every new
school which is started one should watch that part of the organisation
which gives most scope for charlatanism.

The head-masters and the teachers of the defectives will certainly
have a tendency to show off before visitors children who have never
been mentally defective, or who have been so to a very slight degree.
They will take good care to say nothing about the condition of the
child on admission. Or, if necessary, they will tell lies--pious lies,
told in a good cause, and for the honour of the school! These children
will be shown off as advertisements, which will be just as
illegitimate as if the schools for deaf-mutes were to present to
visitors the semi-deaf-mutes, or the deaf who had formerly been able
to hear, and to claim the entire credit for the facility with which
these pupils could read the lips or pronounce words.

All such impositions will continue to be practised as long as those
who visit such institutions are content to look about and docilely
question the children presented to them by the teachers, instead of
personally selecting the pupils to interrogate.

There is another reason why the heads of schools for defectives will
keep their doors wide open to normal cases. This is, that in some
cases a dearth of pupils may arise. A school is opened; it begins its
work; the staff signs on. There is not much to do; there is no gossip
about the matter; everyone is happy. But the number of admissions
slowly decreases. It begins to be feared that the inspector will in
his report notice the decrease, and that the school will be closed as
of no public utility. Pupils, therefore, must be found, and if they
must be found, found they will be. Recollect those evening classes
held in the elementary schools, where the teacher, fearing he will
have to speak to empty benches, begs the head-master to send him some
school children as an audience. Think of those libraries, where the
staff, uneasy at the desertion of the public, pays a gratuity to an
industrious reader for show!

We strongly insist that the inspectors should be alive to this danger.
They will be seated by the side of the manager of the special school.
Let them take note that this manager has a direct vital interest to
admit normal children. It is upon the inspectors that we rely to see
that everything is done honestly and correctly.

=Schedules of Particulars.=--Full and detailed particulars regarding
every child admitted to a class for defectives should be furnished by
the head-master and teachers of the school from which he came. They
will do this easily, for when a child is a little peculiar he attracts
attention. Abnormal children never escape unnoticed. It is of the
greatest importance that the future teacher of the child in the
special class should be correctly informed, and that what has already
been observed should not be lost. Let it be remembered that the
education of defectives should be individual, _made to measure_, as
has been said with picturesque exaggeration. Now, if the child is to
be individualised, he must be well known, well studied.

The necessity of some definite method of collecting particulars has
been experienced abroad. A scheme of questions has been prepared, to
be answered by the teacher who sends the child. The plan is a good
one. It avoids the worry of lapses of memory. We suggest the following



  _Concerning_ ..........      _Admitted_ ..........
  _to the special class at .......... school._


  Original school:
  Full name of child:
  Date of birth:
  Standard to which he belongs:
  Is the child considered mentally defective?
  Is the child considered ill-balanced?


  Names of father and mother:
  Address of parents:
  Occupation of parents:
  Particulars of family which it would be useful to know:


    How long has the child attended school?

    What standards has he passed through, and how long was he in

    Regularity of school attendance: How many days was he absent
    each year?

    What were the most frequent reasons for absence, if any?

    What other schools has he attended, and at what periods?


    What amount of intelligence has he (count from 0 to 20)?

    What do you know of his memory?

    In which subjects does he do least badly?

    In which subjects is he weakest?

    How many years behindhand do you consider him in school
    instruction compared with average children of the same age?

    Annex to the present sheet one of his exercise-books and samples
    of his drawing and manual work.


    Conduct in class. Does the child keep his place? Is he sleepy,
    unruly, talkative? Does he laugh without apparent cause? Does he
    disturb the class?

    Application. Is he attentive in class? Does he do his exercises?
    Does he learn his lessons? To what extent does his family assist
    him with the school work?

    What is his attitude towards the teacher? How does he receive
    remarks? Does he pay attention to them? How often? Is he
    indifferent? Is he restive?

    What are his relations with his companions? Is he kind, docile,
    compliant? Does he make himself liked? Is he the object of
    marked attention? Or is he indifferent? Does he keep apart from
    others? Is he bullying, brutal, irascible, untruthful,
    dishonest, wicked? Has he any special vices?


    What moral influences are most successful for guiding him?

    What is the effect of punishment? Of severity?

    What is the effect of rewards? Of praise?

    Do you require to take any special measures with regard to him
    in class or in the playground?

    What are the most successful methods for advancing his


    What do you know of his state of health? Has he incontinence of
    urine? Any motor affection? Any defect of speech? Fits? Has he
    been examined by a doctor, and do you know the doctor's opinion?
    Was any medicine prescribed? What?

  _Date_ ........ _Signature_ .................
                       _Position_ ..................

All the terms of this schedule are readily intelligible to the
teachers. They have filled up a hundred samples in a very satisfactory
manner, and we thus have in our possession a veritable mine of
valuable information. It is to be hoped that the teachers in the
special school may enjoy the same advantage. The plan has been found
of value in other countries. The bulletins which are used in
Rotterdam, for example, scarcely differ from ours except that they are
more laconic. We have included in our questionnaire all that is likely
to interest not only the inspector, but the doctor and the

       *       *       *       *       *

And now to sum up, here are the steps we advise to be taken in
collecting the defectives:

_First._--The inspector has the pupils of each age in the schools
arranged according to the "standard" or "course" they are in.

_Second._--By examining the tabulated results, the inspector picks out
the backward, and demands particulars regarding the school attendance
of those who have a retardation of two years (when they are under nine
years of age), and of three years (when they have passed their ninth
birthday). In the same circular the inspector asks the teachers to
name any of their pupils who appear to be mentally ill-balanced--that
is to say, who, according to the testimony of at least two teachers,
are rebellious to discipline and an annoyance in the class. The
particulars with regard to want of discipline should be stated in each

_Third._--After examining the returns relating to school attendance
and to the faults alleged against the children supposed to be wanting
in balance, the inspector will make his first choice.

_Fourth._--The direct examination of the child bears specially upon
his state of instruction and degree of intelligence. The inspector
comes to a positive decision with regard to each child, and asks the
opinion of the doctor, as well as of the head of the special school,
who assists.

_Fifth._--The inspector has a schedule of particulars regarding the
children finally accepted for the special school filled up by their
teachers in the schools from which they came.

The medical examination will be considered in the next chapter.

Let us add, in conclusion, that all the decisions arrived at are to be
regarded as provisional; the children are to be admitted to the class
for defectives on trial, to be kept under observation.


[6] See _Année Psychologique_, vol. xii., p. 1, and vol. x., p. 116.
The method sometimes adopted, for other purposes, of asking the
teacher to classify the children according to their intelligence is
quite fallacious. Teachers make no allowance for age. Recently an
excellent teacher pointed out to us, as the most intelligent in the
class, a child who had really, when his age was taken into account, a
retardation of two years; but in a class of younger children his age
gave him an appearance of mental superiority. [Such facts vitiate much
statistical work on the correlation of "brightness" in school-children
with other qualities.--TR.]

[7] Teachers have a troublesome habit of saying simply "attendance
regular" or "irregular." The inspector should demand an exact return
of the absences.

[8] There are two methods of stating the representative value of a
group, the _average_ and the _median_. Everyone knows the average. The
median is obtained by arranging the values in linear series from the
smallest to the greatest and taking the middle one. When should one
use the average, and when the median? It is not easy to give a general
rule, but in this case of spelling, we have a good example. If we wish
to calculate the number of mistakes for each age, to take the average
might be a disastrous proceeding. A single child who made a hundred or
so mistakes would obviously make the average unfairly high. The median
is affected much less by such aberrant cases, and consequently is more
suitable for very heterogeneous series, in which the difference
between the maximum and the minimum is very great.

[9] By way of comparison, the following dictation was given to
ninety-two children in an Edinburgh school. The progressive
difficulties depend upon the non-phonetic spelling and the lesser
familiarity of words. Most of the children came to school in their
sixth year.

1. Tom is a good boy. He has a book and a bat. He can run fast.

2. The dog is bigger than the cat, but he cannot climb so well. He
would if he could.

3. The farmer walked through the wood till he came to the field. It
was a fine day for sowing the corn. He hoped it would not rain till he
had finished his work.

4. The weather was very stormy. The boughs of the trees were blowing
to and fro in the wind. Clouds were chasing each other across the sky.
The crows were watching the ploughman in the field.

Mistakes were marked according to the directions in the text. Thus
"bows" for "boughs" counted three mistakes. The results were as

                   |Average Mistakes in Test Sentences.
   Age of Children.+--------+--------+--------+---------
                   |   1.   |   2.   |   3.   |   4.
   6 to 7 years    |  0.32  |  2.64  |   --   |   --
   7 "  8   "      |  0.22  |  1.77  |  3.45  |  6.18
   8 "  9   "      |  0.2   |  0.36  |  1.68  |  5.91

[10] The complete set of tests as revised in 1911 is given in the
Appendix, with notes regarding their subsequent use in Britain and

[11] "Les Débilités Mentales," _Rev. de Psychiatrie_, 1902.

[12] _Année Psychologique_, vol. vii., 1901, p. 296.



Hitherto we have been studying the defective from the point of view of
his school relations. This point of view is incomplete, and should not
make us forget that there is another--the medical. It is quite certain
that in the organisation and the practical working of the special
schools the doctor has a rôle, and an important rôle, to fill. All
foreign countries recognise this, and give him a large place. It is
even regretted in some countries that doctors detach themselves too
much from such questions, and are content to make a rapid and
superficial examination of children on their entrance to school,
instead of collaborating actively in the important work of the

After this declaration of principles, it may not be without interest
to fix precisely the rôle which belongs to the doctor and the services
which he can render. It seems to us, in fact, that there is often some
confusion as to his attributes, and two opposite tendencies may be
recognised. According to one, the more widespread, the defective are
often, if not always, invalids, and belong to him by right. It would
be an encroachment upon his privileges to concern oneself with them.
The opposite opinion consists in not committing to him any particular
authority in the matter. This is the case in Germany, where there are
schoolmasters who carry things with a high hand in the special
schools. Let us add that the doctors themselves have done nothing to
bring about an entente. Speak of defectives before them, and they
say, "That is our business," and they are perfectly right; but having
affirmed their right, they pay very little attention to the territory
they defend.

It seems to us that the field is sufficiently great for everyone to
glean, and the efforts of all will not be too great to clear it. There
are some questions which escape the doctor, unless he is also an
educationist and a psychologist. But there are also some, in our
opinion, for which he has special competence, and where no one can
take his place. To define his rôle is not to lessen it; on the
contrary, it is to assure him an authoritative position. It is not his
business to select the abnormal from the normal. But from the children
picked out as abnormal he will differentiate certain types and
prescribe certain measures with regard to their care and treatment.


There is a general misunderstanding with regard to the special
knowledge and aptitude of the doctor. One tends to credit him with a
kind of omnipotence and infallibility against which he protests in
vain. He is made to judge questions which do not belong to his special
province--namely, the medical, and upon which he expresses opinions
which are neither more nor less valuable than those of any other
intelligent person. Recently, at various congresses, we have seen
doctors with the best intentions laying down educational programmes,
comparing the educative value of science with that of letters, and
expressing a variety of opinions, no doubt very sensible, but with
which the medical art had nothing whatever to do. As regards the
selection of defectives, one is influenced by the same prejudice. We
have discussed this with many people, and especially with
educationists, and when we have insisted on the difficulties of
examination, they usually reply, "That is the doctor's business!" The
prejudice we have noted is very tenacious, and will doubtless be
difficult to overcome, for there are many people who have interests to
maintain of a pecuniary nature. Let us consider this question from two
points of view--the estimation of educational retardation, and the
physical examination of defectives.

=Estimation of the Degree of Mental Inferiority.=--We have seen how
easily, in spite of the commonly accepted opinion, experienced
teachers and inspectors accomplish this part of their task. If a
doctor were charged with it his embarrassment would be great. Just
imagine a doctor introduced into a school of 300 children in order to
pick out the defectives by strictly medical methods. No doubt every
doctor, especially if he is an alienist, is called upon to estimate
the intellectual level of children, and to sign certificates of
idiocy, imbecility, and feeble-mindedness. But just consider how
things are managed at the consultation. The parents bring the child.
They know very well that he is "not like others." They bring him for
that very reason, and consequently the doctor does not require to
distinguish the child from a normal one. He only requires to sit and
listen to the parents, who give him a crowd of particulars. When he
questions and examines the child, it is only to verify what he has
learned, and to add his own personal impression. As a general rule the
case is a severe one; the deficiency is so evident that any sensible
person would notice it. The task of the doctor is therefore narrowed.
He has only to certify the mental deficiency of the patient, stating
in technical terms the diagnosis which the parents have brought to him
ready made. Even his estimation of the gravity of the case, apart from
special investigations on his part, is not very different from that of
ordinary people who readily distinguish between the idiot who cannot
speak; the imbecile, who can make himself understood, though he cannot
be educated; and the feeble-minded, who can do some work, but is not
able to provide for his wants, or to behave himself sensibly.

When the doctor thus certifies the intellectual level of the patient,
does he try to do so with precision? By no means, for it is not
expected of him. The parents do not come to him in order to ask him,
"Is my child backward in his mental development?" Alas they see it
only too well, and little it matters to them whether his backwardness
amounts to six months or a year. But they do come to ask, "Why does
this child not make the usual progress? Is there not some medicine,
doctor, which can help his development?" When they come to the doctor,
it is not even with the hope that some medico-pedagogical treatment
will cure their child. They know very well that the devoted care which
they have always bestowed upon him from his infancy is superior to
anything which can be given to him at a dispensary for children; but
their indomitable hope leads them to seek chimerical measures. In all
this, let us repeat, the doctor does not require to estimate the
degree of mental deficiency with any delicacy. But if he should try to
do so, what methods would he use?

Here is a child of nine years of age, who has been selected for a
class for defectives because he cannot follow the usual lessons in the
elementary school. You, however, doctor, put to him some of your usual
questions. You ask the child his name, his age, the occupation and
address of his parents; the date, day, month, year; some details about
his life; you even ask him to read or count. The replies are given to
you quietly and correctly. Are you going to refuse to admit him to the
special school, and by what right? You have the notes of one, of two,
or of three teachers. He cannot follow; he is still with children of
seven years of age, in spite of having been at school for three years.
It is evident that he is not an idiot, nor an imbecile, nor even
feeble-minded to any great extent. But you have been notified that he
is behind other children of his age. There is therefore something
peculiar about him. It is not a medical question whether he ought to
remain in the ordinary school. The doctor cannot go against the
opinions which have been given to him, in order to verify whether the
retardation is genuine. To do so, it would be necessary for him to
make a comparison with the normal condition. Now this varies according
to age. The doctor does not know exactly, to two or three years, the
normal condition of the mental faculties; nor, after such and such a
period of school attendance, the habitual level of instruction
reached. That, however, in such special conditions, is the very
problem which faces him. We do not hesitate to express the opinion
that, in such circumstances, the doctor would be incapable of
estimating the intellectual level of the child. He has no more
experience in this matter than any other person. Let a doctor seek to
pick out a feeble-minded child from a number of normal ones, and he
will find how little he is prepared to make the selection.

=Physical Examination of Defectives.=--But it may be asked: "Is not
mental debility associated with physical signs which the doctor alone
is able to appreciate?" About this question three kinds of facts may
be considered: those pertaining to anthropometry, the stigmata of
degeneration, and physiognomy. Let us consider in order what help may
be derived from these.

_Height and Head Measurements._--Numerous papers have been published
upon height and cephalometry. The object of some has been to compare
the less intelligent school children with those who are better
endowed. Other authors have taken as their subject the study of asylum
or hospital cases. The absence or paucity of results of the earlier
studies seems to be due to a cause which we have referred to elsewhere
(p. 39). The mistake has been made of judging the intelligence of the
children by sole reference to the opinion of the teachers, although
account should have been taken of the relationship between the age
and the stage of instruction. The comparison between the height and
head measurements of the hospital cases and those of school children
is not subject to the same risk of error, and striking differences
between the two have been noticed. But there is yet another factor
which must be taken into account if the figures so obtained are to
yield all they are capable of teaching. If one confines oneself to
comparing the averages of the two sets of children, one finds them
almost identical. We have shown that the only suitable method to use
here is the method of arranging the figures in series. This proceeding
has suggested to one of us a better method still, that of "frontiers."
There is for each age a height limit below which the defectives become
clearly more numerous. There are limits in the head diameters, upon
each side of which are grouped the abnormally small and the
hypertrophied heads, which are frequently associated with mental
deficiency. We give here the table which one of us has published of
the provisional frontiers for height and for the two cephalic


   Age. |   Height.    | Antero-Posterior|  Transverse  |    Sum of
        |              |    Diameter.    |   Diameter.  |  Diameters.
        | Centimetres. |   Millimetres.  | Millimetres. | Millimetres.
     6  |     100      |       164       |     134      |     298
     7  |     105      |       166       |     135      |
     8  |     110      |       169       |     136      |     305
     9  |     111      |       171       |     137      |
    10  |     120      |       172       |     138      |     310
    11  |     124      |       173       |     139      |
    12  |     130      |       174       |     140      |     314
    13  |     135      |       176       |     141      |
    14  |     140      |       178       |     142      |     320
    15  |     142.5    |       179       |     143.5    |
    16  |     154      |       180       |     145      |     325
    17  |     147.5    |       181       |     146      |
    18  |     150      |       182       |     147      |     329

What this table means is this: If we measure 100 children in an
elementary school, we find only a small number (at most 10 per cent.)
whose measurements are less than those indicated; if, on the other
hand, we measure idiots and imbeciles, the proportion of those whose
measurements are inferior is greater, amounting to over 25 per cent.
Amongst 120 abnormal children we found not a single one who was below
these frontiers in two measurements, whilst 10 per cent. of defectives
were below. Certain measurements, therefore, are distinctly
suggestive, although, no doubt, not absolutely diagnostic without
reference to the subject examined.

_The Stigmata of Degeneration._--Everyone has heard of the physical
malformations which are called the stigmata of degeneration. Some of
these are very apparent, such as a sixth finger on the hand, or a
hare-lip, or those deformities of the head, which are called
_plagiocephalus_ (obliquely oval cranium), _scaphocephalus_
(boat-shaped cranium), etc. Other stigmata are less apparent, such as
abnormal shapes of the ear, irregular growth of hair, of the teeth,
alterations in the eye, etc. Some doctors, not all, have made a study
of these various stigmata. But school directors and teachers know
nothing about them except what the present-day widespread
popularisation of medical knowledge has permitted them to know.
Evidently it is no part of their business to take up the study,
although no State diploma will prevent their doing so if it is their
good pleasure. There is no law against it. But they would expose
themselves to grave risks of erroneous interpretations owing to their
ignorance of the manner in which stigmata are produced, and the
ignorance of doctors on this subject is still great. The determination
of the stigmata, their enumeration, and their description, belong,
therefore, at any rate by preference, to the doctor. God save us from
wanting to dispossess him!

But what help could their study render us in the question whether a
particular child ought or ought not to be admitted into a class for
defectives? There is an opinion which is very widespread, especially
amongst teachers and ordinary people, a souvenir of the doctrines of
Gall, that the physical stigmata are signs of the original character,
and that the possessor of a certain shape of head is certainly
defective. "I have taken my son," a worthy mother said to us, "to
consult Dr. P., because he was learning nothing in his class. He was
sent away from every school I sent him to, and he is unbearable at
home. The doctor felt all over his head. He evidently saw that there
was something particular wrong with the boy." We do not smile at this
good mother. Plenty of other intelligent people hold her opinions, if
they are not so naïve in their language. They expect that the moment
defective children are brought before them, they will find something
peculiar, something ugly, in their physiognomy. And there are plenty
of doctors, let us say frankly, who are equally naïve, and, more
serious still, allow themselves to be influenced by unconscious
suggestions. If, like our worthy mother, we present to the doctor a
child as defective, the doctor will, as a general rule, have no
difficulty in demonstrating that he must be so. How many of us are
there without stigmata? None of us is built upon the model of the
ideal man. It is always possible to discover some anatomical detail
which will give support to a preconceived opinion. But the same doctor
who, on seeing a defective child with adherent ear lobes, will say
that that was just what he expected, will abruptly change his opinion
if he discovers a whorl of frontal hair on a child who is presented to
him as normal, and will refuse to attach to the fact any importance
whatever. As a matter of fact, these questions have not yet been
studied as they ought to be, by a comparison without _parti pris_
between normal and abnormal children of the same age and in the same
environment, and we do not yet know how stigmata should be
interpreted. We can only suggest some provisional conclusions.

The first of these conclusions is that the presence or absence of a
definite stigma has no exact significance for the individual who bears
it; for on the one hand one meets with all kinds of malformations in
average normal children, and on the other hand, some who are
definitely abnormal are quite normal in their conformation. The
stigma, therefore, has not the value of a definitely pathognomonic
sign like the crepitating râle of pneumonia, or the transient
unconsciousness of epilepsy; but if we compare a group of normal
children with a group of abnormal, the total number of the stigmata
will be much greater in the second group; and, moreover, the
multiplicity of stigmata in a single individual constitutes a strong
probability that that individual is abnormal. Here are some facts
which support these two propositions:

Recently we made a rapid examination of the heads of fifty-eight
school children, and noticed that eighteen of them had some stigma,
especially an abnormal shape of the ear. We therefore find stigmata
amongst children at the average school level. But of these fifty-eight
school children only one had four abnormalities--malformed ears,
strabismus, prognathism, and slight scaphocephaly. The others had a
maximum of two. The first child alone is certainly defective.

In a class of nine defective children subjected to a similar
examination, we found only one who had but one stigma, another had
two, four had three, and three had five. Of the three last, one had a
very high degree of retardation; another was mentally ill-balanced to
no less a degree. Let us compare these two groups, the one of
fifty-eight average children, the other of nine defectives, and group
to group, the difference is very clear. The stigmata are usually more
numerous when the children are mentally defective. The existence of
stigmata is a presumption of deficiency, and this presumption is
greater, the greater the number of stigmata.

If we consider which are the stigmata that are most commonly met with,
we find that asymmetry of the face is almost constant, but we also
find it sometimes in normal children. Malformations of the ear come
next. We are often struck by the frequency of badly defective
speech--three times in nine defectives, whilst we did not find a
single example in the fifty-eight school children taken by chance.

Here, then, is a "group fact" which is of interest from a scientific
point of view. But what use can be made of it for individual
diagnosis? This is much more delicate, for even if one could state it
as a general rule that defectives have more stigmata than the normal,
this rule is subject to important exceptions.

One of our abnormal cases had only one stigma, another had two, and in
both cases the anomalies were of a very ordinary kind--slight want of
symmetry of the face and sticking out ears. Children with stigmata few
in number, and little marked (though as a rule we note the presence of
stigmata without measuring them), may therefore not be of normal
intelligence. The same is true sometimes of children with no stigma at

We may therefore conclude that stigmata may be taken into account when
we are making an examination, but they should never be regarded as of
fundamental importance in diagnosis.

_Physiognomy._--In addition to stigmata, we have to note another
feature which is of more definite significance. Methodical studies
made by means of a collection of sixty photographs of children, normal
and abnormal, photographs taken by M. Bertillon in conditions
comparable in all cases, have shown us that an intelligent teacher can
scarcely go wrong in judging physiognomy. The photographs were
beautifully taken, and the expression of the faces appeared extremely
lifelike to anyone who was used to observing children. We asked
various teachers to examine these portraits, and to express their
opinion as to the mental capacity revealed. Mistakes were made, as
was to be expected; but the correct estimations were always in the
majority, and some teachers exhibited a truly remarkable talent for
observation; they were practically never deceived. Let us say in
passing that our list included a number of doctors amongst the
teachers. They were far from distinguishing themselves. Their
percentage was not so good as that of the schoolmasters. This
difference in competence, which perhaps may appear surprising,
suggests the following anecdote: One day, at the meeting of a
commission, we had thrown upon the cloth a collection of photographs
of children, the very one which we had been using for our methodical
experiments. Everyone looked at the portraits and expressed his
opinion. By way of a joke we tackled a medical alienist who had a seat
on the commission. He was mistaken in his opinion as often as his
colleagues who were most ignorant of medicine.

It seems to us, and the facts mentioned support us, that stigmata are
only one part of the complicated whole which constitutes a
physiognomy. A physiognomy includes many other things, especially the
expression,--lively or sluggish, strong or weak, intelligent or
lacking in intelligence; there is the fineness or coarseness of the
features, the beauty or ugliness of the countenance, the ordinary or
unusual appearance of the face. All this forms an _ensemble_ which the
eye does not analyse, but judges _en bloc_ by instinct, without
considering the elements separately, and, above all, without being
able to give reasons for its judgment. Will it be possible some day to
analyse, to dissociate, and to describe all these very various
elements? We do not know. In the meantime we think that every
examiner, as a matter of fact, allows himself to be influenced by the
general appearance of the subject, and that the impression so formed
is not entirely without value.

Let us sum up regarding the physiognomy. There does exist between the
intellectual level of a subject and his physical development a real
correlation, but, unfortunately, it is slight. With regard to the
stigmata our knowledge of their significance is still very slight. We
have no figures which allow us to place any definite value upon them
either singly or in combination. There still remains the general
appearance, whose significance is apparently indubitable, but which,
at present, is too dependent upon individual estimate to be
utilisable. Let us add that these relations between the mental and the
physical appear to be of greater significance the lower the mental
condition. Now, in a school it is the feeble-minded who are in the
majority, and it is they who have to be recognised much more
frequently than the idiot or the imbecile, and this lessens the
importance of the physical examination. We may therefore conclude with
this practical rule: a physical examination can never allow us to
dispense with a direct examination of the intelligence. Anthropometry,
stigmata, and physical appearance must take a second place as means
for discovering in school the feeble-minded and the ill-balanced.
Failing direct recourse to the teacher, these methods could, and
ought, to be made use of. But in most cases, thanks to the assistance
of the teacher, we have better means. In cases on the border-line they
might help to incline the balance. Their principal use is not to
assist in selecting children for special classes for defectives; their
significance is quite different, as we shall see immediately.


We must now define the active rôle of the doctor. In many foreign
countries a scheme has been drawn up for the medical examination,
which is often extremely comprehensive, almost interminable. We give
an example of this kind, though questioning the appropriateness, from
our point of view, of certain questions. If one does not simplify the
work, the practitioners will simplify it in their own way--by
neglecting it. If you ask them to do too much, they will do nothing.


    _Heredity of the Child._--Note the name, the date, and the place
    of the birth of the father and the mother, and find out, by
    direct interrogation, whether the parents have a pathological
    heredity. Consider first the two great hereditary
    influences--alcoholism and insanity. Next inquire concerning
    nervous ailments, tuberculosis, etc. Make inquiries concerning
    the direct ascendents and their collaterals. Note the number of
    brothers and sisters, their illnesses, their mortality, and the
    position of the child in the family.

    _Previous History of the Child._--This is the second part of the
    medical examination. It includes many questions. Has the child
    had convulsions? At what age did it begin to cut its teeth? At
    what age did it begin to walk? When did it show habits of
    cleanliness? When did it speak? What illnesses had it in
    infancy? Has the child always appeared different from others, or
    did it only become so at some definite time, or, in other words,
    is the mental deficiency congenital or acquired?

    _Present Condition._--Under this heading are included the
    general appearance of the subject, his attitude, the form and
    size of his head, etc.

We have no objection on principle to medical investigations of this
kind, and if a doctor desires to collect such information, he ought to
be encouraged. We recall in passing that Dr. Ley, of Antwerp, who was
for some time medical specialist to a school for defectives, has made
a very complete study of the heredity and personal antecedents of
hundreds of defective children. But before compelling doctors to fill
up conscientiously a schedule containing all these questions, one
should consider without prejudice what use the work is going to be
when it is done.

Let us distinguish between pure science and what is of immediate
practical utility. No doubt one ought to give a warm welcome to
everything which helps us to understand the child better; but the
above observations upon his heredity do not bear upon the question of
whether he is a defective, and throw only the dimmest light upon his
character and the manner in which one should treat him. If he is to be
counted abnormal, he must be either ill-balanced or of deficient
intelligence. Even if he should have an alcoholic heredity, that would
be of no importance if he were able to follow his class and to profit
by the ordinary instruction. At most, the discovery of a pathological
heredity might incline one in a doubtful case towards a diagnosis of
mental deficiency; but yet one should be extremely cautious about
permitting oneself to be influenced in this way, for we are ignorant
to a most incredible degree concerning the heredity and antecedents of
normal children, and as our ignorance in this respect is so complete,
we are unable to say precisely what is really pathological in the
heredity and the antecedents of those who are abnormal. Information of
this kind, therefore, is not directly useful.

What, then, are the first problems to be solved? Let us consider just
exactly where we are in the examination. Here are the children picked
out by the teachers. The inspectors themselves have checked the
selection and referred back some of those selected, but very few, if
they have carefully directed the methods of choice from the beginning.
The children presented are backward in their studies. Inquiries
regarding their school attendance have shown that the retardation is
not due to irregular attendance. The examination of their intelligence
has confirmed this judgment.

It still remains to discover whether, amongst all these children who
are unable to follow the ordinary school curriculum, there do not
exist some who are not, properly speaking, mentally deficient, but who
are suffering from some illness. May we not find amongst them some
who require medical treatment rather than special teaching--_e.g._,
cretins? And, lastly, may there not be some children whose mental
deficiency complicates some other disease, such as epilepsy? These are
problems which are essentially medical, and which it is necessary to
solve before admitting a child to a special school. Let us consider
them in order.

=1. Is the Case one of Mental Deficiency, or of an Intercurrent Mental
Affection?=--To tell the truth, there is not often any doubt. However,
there are two circumstances in which doubt may arise. In the first
place, an arrest in a child's mental development may be the expression
of a state of depression which indicates a psychosis in the course of
evolution, or it may be the first sign of decadence in one of those
degenerates of whom Morel speaks, who seem to have "a limited mental
existence." Such cases, which some authors describe under the name of
"dementia precox," require a medical regimen.

In the second place, it is possible that the etiological factor is
alcohol. Alcoholism in the parents is frequently the cause of mental
deficiency. But the effects of drinking do not always stop there. The
child itself may be made to drink, and consequently the doctor may
sometimes find symptoms resulting from direct intoxication--nightmares,
or tremor of the hands. Such intoxication may be responsible partly, if
not entirely, for the want of progress at school, and also for the
irritable temper which the child shows in class. It would be necessary
in such cases to see the parents, and to advise a different hygiene for
their child at any rate, if they themselves cannot be persuaded to give
up their bad habits. In this way one may be able to avoid sending the
child to a school for defectives. It is apparent that even if the child
were sent to such a school, it would be necessary to put a stop to the
administration of alcohol. The rarity of such cases makes their
exposition of almost theoretical interest.

=2. Would the Mental Deficiency respond to Medical Treatment?=--Cannot
the doctor prescribe something to cure the mental deficiency or want
of balance? Let us give some consideration to this question. Medicines
act either upon the symptoms of a disease, or upon the organic changes
which produce them, or, lastly, upon the very causes of such organic
changes. Quinine, for example, has a selective action on the parasites
of malaria; mercury produces an undoubted effect upon syphilitic
growths; treatment by cold baths keeps the temperature of typhoid
fever below a certain level during the whole of the illness. Cannot
analogous results be hoped for in mental deficiency? A brief résumé of
what we know concerning the causes of mental deficiency and the
anatomical lesions which accompany it will determine our answer.

The dominant etiological feature is that mental deficiency and want of
balance depend upon hereditary conditions, or conditions acquired in
the earliest stages of development. By hereditary conditions must be
understood strictly those which result from alterations in the germ
cells of the parents. An intoxication alone seems capable of
exercising upon the latter a sufficiently general action to reach the
germ cells, and by far the most frequent poison is alcohol. By
acquired conditions must be understood the results of diseases of the
foetus or of infancy, and especially the cerebral complications of the
infectious fevers--_e.g._, meningitis in the course of an eruptive
fever. In all such cases, with rare exceptions to be mentioned
immediately, by the time the mental deficiency is discovered, its
causes are no longer active, and consequently cannot be affected by
medical intervention.

The statements we have just made with regard to the causes of mental
deficiency lead to some practical conclusions. The ultimate evolution
of the congenital cases differs from that of acquired cases, and this
renders a study of the early history of the child important. If the
development of the child has been normal at first, and has then been
abruptly interrupted, for example, by an attack of meningitis, of
which we can obtain by inquiry a definite history, the prognosis is
not good. For it is a well-recognised fact that cases of acquired
mental deficiency are not likely to make a fresh start. If we were
hesitating whether to send an imbecile child to an asylum or to put
him in a class for mental defectives, a history like the above would
lead us to give the preference to the asylum; but let us say once
more, we do not find here an indication for treatment.

As to the changes which are found post-mortem, these are manifold and
of an unalterable kind. They are as follows:

(1) The results of the rupture of a cerebral vessel--_e.g._, from
asphyxia at birth or a delivery by forceps. Blood has been poured out
into the nervous tissue. The latter has been destroyed over a greater
or less extent, and there is found in its place a cyst filled with
sero-sanguineous fluid.

(2) The obstruction of an artery--_e.g._, by septic thrombosis--has
prevented the blood from reaching a part of the brain, with similar
results to those mentioned.

(3) In other cases are found the more or less extensive changes
produced by meningitis or meningo-encephalitis. The inflammation of
its envelopes has interfered with the brain, and consequently with its

(4) An increased secretion of cerebro-spinal fluid has led to a
compression of the nervous system or a distension of its cavities,
notably of the lateral ventricles of the cerebral hemispheres, and has
led to a separation of the bones of the cranium, thus producing the
large globular head of hydrocephalus.

(5) There may be found simply defects of development whose causes are
known (microcephalus, or extreme smallness of the cranium relatively
to the face; microgyria, or marked thinness of the convolutions).

(6) Lastly--and this is frequently the case in the worst degrees of
deficiency--the post-mortem, and even microscopic examination of the
organs may show no change at all.

Let us add that the nature of the lesions just mentioned does not seem
to have any relationship to the condition of the mental faculties. An
anatomico-pathological grouping of the cases and a grouping according
to the mental condition, far from being parallel, are frequently
decidedly different. On the other hand, the extent of the lesions is
of more importance. Diffuse lesions affect the mind more than those
which are circumscribed--that is to say, limited to a certain part of
the brain--as if the mental functions required the co-operation of the
entire cerebral cortex. One will often find, for example, sound
judgment in the subject of a marked paralysis, whilst it is very rare
to find that good intelligence co-exists with any degree of

Let us emphasise the last fact we mentioned, the absence of any
lesion. Some authorities have maintained that all conditions of mental
deficiency and want of balance found in children are connected with
definite diseases of which they are the symptoms. The question is
unsettled. For our own part we adopt the following provisional
statement: Mental deficiency and want of balance are peculiar mental
conditions which it is often impossible to connect with definite
pathological changes.

Thus, we do not know of any medical treatment which is likely to act
upon the preceding lesions when they are present, and we do not think
it is even possible to act upon them.

An exception must, however, be made of conditions due to insufficient
secretion of certain glands. The type of these is cretinism. Marked
cases of this condition are easy to recognise. The very appearance of
the children is sufficient for an experienced eye--the stunted growth;
the rough, wrinkled skin; the swollen eyelids half-concealing the
eyes; the prominent belly; and the mental apathy. One also comes
across abortive cases, where the above-mentioned characters are less
marked; the sluggishness also is less. These latter cases are amenable
to the same treatment as the former--namely, the ingestion of thyroid
glands from the sheep.

This treatment stimulates growth and makes the child more lively; but
what ultimately becomes of the cases so treated? The amelioration
usually ceases whenever the treatment is dropped. But how far does
this amelioration go? To what extent does the child profit by it?
Lasègue has jocularly remarked that the average duration of an attack
of typhoid fever (six weeks) represents the maximum time during which
medical attention could be brought to bear upon a patient. One feels
disposed to think he is right in face of the slight satisfaction one
can obtain from the literature regarding a point of such importance.

Other cases of mental deficiency may be due to an alteration in the
pituitary gland. It is for the doctor to find out whether there are
any symptoms by which mental deficiency of such an origin can be
recognised, and whether it is possible to prepare a suitable substance
for replacing the absent secretion.

The number of cases amenable to treatment of this kind is,
unfortunately, very limited.[13] We may even say that, as a general
rule, we did not find amongst the school children we examined any
cases of obesity or infantilism such as are sometimes described of a
truly remarkable nature. Even children who were abnormally short
looked their age. We have still, however, to mention one last
influence--namely, poverty. Its part in the production of mental
debility is scarcely defined. What are the exact effects upon
intelligence of prolonged deficiency of nutrition? How can its action
be isolated from that of other agents, such as alcoholism, which too
frequently accompanies it? The complexity of such social studies
sufficiently explains their present incompleteness. Let us recall the
results we obtained from an inquiry of this kind; the children of
parents in extreme poverty are retarded in their physical development
more frequently than those whose parents are in easy circumstances. It
is interesting to add that analogous inquiries with reference to
intelligence have furnished similar results.

Apart from the preceding cases, the best that can be done is to treat
the symptoms. The two principal agents at the disposal of the doctor
are the bromides and hydrotherapy. Unfortunately, if the bromides are
undoubtedly efficacious in certain cases of epilepsy, that is far from
being the case in simple want of mental balance, in which cases they
are at best useful adjuvants. As to hydrotherapy, and especially cold
douches, their principal indication is in certain nervous affections,
where their effect is to enable the subject to master the emotional
reactions which are habitually exaggerated.

Lastly, the doctor can exert his moral influence to assist the
educative work of the teacher in the special school. His less frequent
intervention, the different motives of his advice, will often give him
even more authority than the teacher. The suggestive effects of his
intervention should be obtained, in our opinion, without resort to

=3. Does the Mentally Defective suffer from any Definite Illness?=--If
the illness such as we have referred to affects those parts of the
cerebral cortex which govern the muscles of a limb, one will find, in
addition to the mental condition, paralysis with atrophy and
contracture. But in addition to such very marked cases, there exist
others in which sensory or motor affections, although slight, may
hinder the progress of education.

It goes without saying that if a child does not profit from the school
work, an examination of his sight and hearing should be made as a
matter of course. Perhaps that may have been done already by the
teacher himself by such methods as he is able to use. But this first
examination is not sufficient. The doctor must correct, as far as
possible, the want of acuity noticed. No doubt the defect may not
explain the mental deficiency of the child, but one must take care
that in the school for defectives a pronounced myopia or catarrh of
the middle ear does not prove an obstacle to the efforts which are to
be made to bring about development.

In the same way it must be considered whether the condition of the
muscular system is such as to permit the manual work which one wants
to teach the child, and whether there exists any paralysis or tremor
which would prove an obstacle to work of this kind. One must consider
whether any symptoms present are transitory, like chorea; or
permanent, like infantile hemiplegia; and what kind of efforts may be
made without risk to the health of the child. Such are the problems
which the doctor has to solve.

       *       *       *       *       *

In the last place, it is necessary to take into account the
coexistence with the mental deficiency of other affections.

_Epilepsy._--Epilepsy frequently coexists with mental deficiency. Now,
epilepsy does not always reveal itself by severe fits with crying,
falling down, loss of consciousness, convulsions, stiffness followed
by jerking of the limbs, foaming at the mouth, biting of the tongue,
and involuntary passage of urine. It is revealed also by symptoms of a
less striking nature, which have been described under the name of
_petit mal_. Such are loss of consciousness, vertigo, or simply mental
perturbations. Loss of consciousness occurs without the tremor of a
muscle, the child suddenly turns pale, loses consciousness for a
moment, and then continues whatever he was doing--for example, walking
or writing. There is nothing more impressive to notice when the fit
occurs as one is talking to the little patient. One sees, as it were,
the passing of a veil. But nothing could be more fugitive, nothing
could more easily escape the notice of anyone who was not a good
observer. Often the parents know nothing about it. The attacks are so
short, the consequences apparently so slight, that even if the parents
have chanced to notice them, they do not always think of mentioning
the fact. The teacher of defective children ought to be instructed in
the characteristics of this affection. He is going to spend several
hours daily with the children. He will have the best opportunities for
noticing the occurrence of attacks, which may be rare, but which, when
they occur, are very significant.

Although the symptoms are a little more marked, vertigo also is of
brief duration. To the pallor and the loss of consciousness of the
preceding condition there is added a little muscular relaxation. The
child totters, supports himself by anything in his neighbourhood,
slips down in his seat, or drops his pen. Sometimes there is a slight
spasm of the muscles of the face, the mouth is drawn to one side by
slight jerks, or performs some movements of mastication or
deglutition. And that is all--no convulsions of the limbs, no passage
of urine, scarcely an interruption to the work which is being done.

Whether the doctor discovers these symptoms by interrogation of the
parents, or whether the teacher some time afterwards describes them
to him with sufficient detail to permit of a certain diagnosis, a
double gain results. In the first place, there is an indication for
treatment; and in the second, the possibility of supervision. As a
matter of fact, it too frequently happens that these symptoms, little
dramatic as they are, reveal the existence of epilepsy, which will
ultimately result in progressive mental decadence.

And yet this is not all. A few days or a few hours before such
symptoms occur, or immediately after them, or, lastly, according to
some authorities, entirely independently of them, the patient may
develop a peculiar condition of irritability, in which he will
transgress against discipline, make insolent remarks, or even give way
to violence. Such actions ought not to be suppressed by punishment,
because they are of morbid origin.

All such symptoms possess this characteristic, that they leave no
trace on the memory of the child. He himself knows nothing about them,
or knows them only by what he has heard from other people. There can
now be no need to insist with what care inquiries must be made,
especially of the parents.

Are epileptics to be admitted into the special class? On principle
they are refused admission to the ordinary school. They are, however,
to be found there. There are those whose attacks occur very rarely, or
are so slight as to cause no disturbance. There are probably also
unrecognised cases of epilepsy in which the symptoms occur during the
night, or on awakening, but never in class. Only the severe forms are
turned away. Probably the same state of affairs will recur in the
classes for the abnormal--at any rate until the time when provision
for epileptics is more extensive than it is at present. It will
therefore be necessary to recognise these cases, to supervise them
with special care during certain kinds of manual work, and, if
possible, to treat the nervous symptoms suitably while the patients
are receiving instruction.

_Hysteria._--Although hysteria has not the same gravity, it is no less
advisable that cases should be tracked out. This neurosis is being
discussed to-day as never before. Without setting forth at length what
we think should be included under this term, let us point out a
characteristic of hysteria which is commonly recognised, and which is
of such importance that it indicates the line of treatment to be
followed. The two principal manifestations of the affection,
hysterical fits and the recital of lying tales, require for their
complete development the presence of a public, of a gallery.
Inversely, their disappearance is assured by isolation or apparent

The discovery of such tendencies before entrance to the school will
allow the doctor to forewarn the teacher, and point out to him the
best way of dealing with such children.

       *       *       *       *       *

There are still three affections about which we must say a few
words--rickets, adenoid vegetations, and scrofula.

_Rickets._--The chief characteristic of this condition is defective
ossification. Instead of possessing their usual rigidity, the bones
become curved, and multiple deformities result. The legs become bowed,
and the knees cannot be brought into contact when the feet are placed
together; the thorax becomes constricted or gibbous, etc. In addition
to the nutritive disturbance, which appears to be at the root of all
these disorders, there may be, according to some authors, an affection
of the entire system, and especially of the nervous centres.
Unfortunately, as rickets is a disease of the earliest years of life,
one often finds oneself in the presence of the sequelæ which have been
left, and which simply must be made the best of.

_Adenoid Vegetations._--Everyone has now heard of cases of this kind
where the appearance is so characteristic. The lips are always half
open, the appearance is sleepy-looking, the respiration is difficult.
If one looks at the throat, or if one introduces the finger into the
child's mouth in order to explore the pharynx behind the soft palate,
one will see or feel the large tonsils or the fleshy masses which
obstruct the posterior orifice of the nasal fossa. One would like to
find in these vegetations the cause of the habitual torpor of the
children, and of their want of progress. It is true that there is a
connection between mental backwardness and adenoids. The removal of
the swellings by a surgical operation will make more free the
respiration, whose obstruction prevented sustained attention, and will
also frequently cure the deafness, which was due to an obstruction of
the Eustachian tubes. The operation may therefore result in a marked
amelioration of the mental condition as well as of the general health.
If the amelioration is sufficient, the child can be sent back to the
ordinary school.

_Scrofula, Tuberculosis._--A child with a lymphatic appearance, whose
tissues are infiltrated with serum, and whose glands readily become
enlarged, requires plenty of country air and a nutritious diet. If he
is admitted to the special school, it will be advisable to attend to
his health before subjecting him to any particular educational

The doctor, then, will notice in passing the existence of such
conditions as rickets, adenoids, and scrofula in the children who are
submitted to him. Affections of the lungs and tuberculosis of the
bones will also attract his attention. But such affections in abnormal
children have no other significance than in the case of children of
average intelligence. They furnish no special indication regarding the
admission or non-admission of the child into a special class. Their
severity alone determines the course to follow with respect to their

We shall, however, say a few words about another
infirmity--incontinence of urine. If there is presented for a class
for defectives a subject, eleven years of age, who cannot control
himself in this respect, the course to follow is: submit the child to
examination by a specialist, who will decide the nature of the
incontinence. If it is curable, give the condition the necessary
attention, or give instructions at the school for training the child
properly; but if there is an incurable weakness of the sphincters,
supply the child with the same kind of apparatus as is used in such
cases by ordinary people.

       *       *       *       *       *

Here, then, are a number of important points upon which the doctor may
be called to give his opinion. It is he alone who is able, by his
special knowledge, to enlighten the other members of the jury. If the
mental condition is doubtful and requires further observation, it is
for him to point it out. One will thus avoid the mistake of placing in
a class for defectives a lunatic, or a child poisoned by alcohol, who
would not find there the kind of care required. If the bodily
condition discovered complicates or aggravates the mental deficiency,
as adenoid vegetations may do, he will prescribe the proper treatment.
If he suspects the coexistence of some neurosis, he will give
directions by which the condition may be recognised, and consequently
treated. The doctor therefore has to recognise the physical and mental
ailments by which the defective may be affected. He makes this
diagnosis for two reasons. In the first place, in order that mental
deficiency may not be confounded with conditions of illness of a
different kind; and, secondly, in order to relieve or cure if possible
coexisting affections which may aggravate the condition of the
children and interfere with the work of the school.

       *       *       *       *       *

We shall conclude here what we have to say about the rôle of the
doctor, since in this volume we are specially concerned with the
recognition and segregation of the children. To discuss the rôle of
the doctor quite fully would take us too far.

The details we have given show that the part of the doctor with regard
to defectives is quite different from that of the teacher. It is not
so much to determine the child's precise mental level as to diagnose
the condition of his brain, and to discover, by analysis of all the
symptoms, the original responsible agent. That, however, is the second
part of the doctor's work, and is of scientific interest; whereas the
first part, which consists in diagnosing the ailments which co-exist
with the mental deficiency, is of immediate practical utility.

Let us note, in conclusion, the scientific trend of the present day. A
large proportion of medical work is of scientific interest rather than
of direct utility for the patient. A concrete example will explain our
meaning. A severe shivering, a sudden elevation of the temperature, a
dulness on one side of the chest, the presence in the same position of
crepitant râles, a rusty, sticky expectoration--such is the syndrome
by which a practitioner recognises an attack of acute pneumonia. He
knows its duration; he knows the relief which will be produced by the
application of poultices. To ideas such as these may be reduced all
that is indispensable for the doctor to know in order to exercise his
art. The post-mortem examination of the hepatised lung, its increase
in density, the histological study of the engorged air cells and
bronchioles, the researches upon the pneumococcus, its culture, its
vitality--all this constitutes a search into etiology and
pathogenesis, whose aim is quite different.

The same distinction may be made in the medical study of defective
children. And from this point of view the results which at first seem
of secondary importance reappear in the foreground. This is the case,
for example, with the stigmata of degeneration. It would be
unreasonable to attribute to them an individual value, and to utilise
them for arranging children serially in the order of their mental
deficiency; but in the work of synthesis they are decidedly
significant, since their study leads one to consider them either as
the effects of, and therefore as witnesses to, alterations in the
nervous system, or as the consequences of causes sufficiently powerful
to have modified that system.

One would not deny all practical bearing to such investigations of
pathogenesis. It is a mistake of Tolstoy to regard them as the pastime
of refined dilettantes. When the biological study of defectives leads
to this idea, that the mental weakness of the defectives, like the
peculiarities in the character of the ill-balanced, is the result of
degeneration--the result, for instance, of the alcoholisation of a
people--it will quickly result in measures of social hygiene.

The point is, however, that this second part of the work cannot, in
our opinion, be carried out under the same conditions as the first.
One would like to believe that, in making observations upon heredity
and stigmata, the doctors are collecting, in their daily work,
materials for a great scientific work which will be produced by
degrees. No doubt all their schedules may some day be extracted from
the drawers in the office where they will sleep for a long time; but
with what object will they be taken out, if not to compile statistics
of doubtful value? The truth is that scientific investigation cannot
be carried on automatically and collectively. There is always a
personal element which is independent of all administrative
prescription. What use can be made of observations which are often
merely a collection of paper? If we are some day to understand the
rôle of heredity, of alcoholism, of insanity, of poverty, in the
production of defective children, it will be necessary for someone,
who wants to do a really good piece of work, to set aside all these
equivocal documents, and go straight to the facts, collecting his
information at first hand and in a critical spirit. Scientific work
can be done in no other way. When it is done otherwise it is worth

We therefore suggest the following schedule for the medical
examination of defective children. The schedule includes two
parts--one part optional, because it is only of indirect interest;
another part which is obligatory. None of the questions in this part
should be left unanswered, and the doctor will also give the
instructions which he thinks ought to be followed.


  Date of examination:                      Height:
  Name and date of birth of child:          Weight:

Part 1. Obligatory.

    (i.) Has the child any mental symptoms other than mental
    deficiency? Signs of alcoholism, etc.?

    (ii.) Is there reason to think the child has any weakness,
    congenital or acquired? Cretinism?

    (iii.) Are there any (_a_) Sensory defects--sight?
                         (_b_) Motor defects--paralysis?
                                                   tremor, etc.?

    (iv.) Is the child epileptic? What symptoms are
    present--convulsions, vertigo, loss of consciousness? Their
    frequency, etc.?

    (v.) Has the child adenoids?

    (vi.) Is the child hysterical?

    (vii.) Any other ailments?

    (viii.) What directions are to be given to the schoolmaster?

Part II. Optional.

    A. Cephalometry and stigmata of degeneration.
    B. History: Birth.
                Age at commencement of dentition.
                Age at commencement of control of bladder
                Age at commencement of and bowel.
                Age at commencement of walking.
                Age at commencement of speech.
                Infantile diseases.
    C. Heredity.
           Date of birth:
           Place of birth:
                     { syphilis.
           Illnesses { alcoholism.
                     { insanity.
         Mother: _Ibid._
         Brothers and Sisters--
           Health of survivors:

To sum up, we do not think that the doctor will often have to reject a
child, but he will often furnish indications which will help to direct
the efforts of the teacher. He will proclaim the opinion, at once so
just and so humane, that the symptoms of mental deficiency and want of
balance in abnormal children do not arise from laziness or
naughtiness, but require no methods of treatment except such as are
likely to relieve them. And this conviction which animates him he will
impress little by little on the teacher. He will accustom the latter
not to regard a defective child at fault like a normal, responsible
child, whom he is sometimes tempted to punish in anger, but rather as
a patient whose faults should be overcome by persevering patience.


[13] For the sake of greater completeness, let us refer to a type of
imbecile with very characteristic features--namely, the _Mongol_. A
little round head, chubby cheeks, rosy as if painted with rouge,
oblique eyes, a nose broad at the base and with a tip like a little
ball, skin slightly yellow--the whole appearance of the child is such
that one doubts his European origin, and thinks of a Chinese doll,
with limbs of india-rubber, so great is the looseness of the joints.
During his first year the Mongol is rather drowsy and quiet--too
"old-fashioned," as the mothers say. In the second or third year he
becomes lively. His countenance acquires a comic and jolly expression,
and his imitative instincts become curiously developed, and as a
general rule he is very sweet-tempered. They all resemble one another,
and all "promise much and achieve little," for they never cease to be



=An Inquiry in the Hospitals.=--Two years ago one of us betook himself
to M. X., an important official in one of our ministries, in order to
ask him to join a Ministerial Commission which was going to pay a
visit to one of our asylum-schools. M. X. shrugged his shoulders, and
replied energetically: "No, no, no! I have had enough of such visits.
I will go neither to the Salpêtrière nor to Bicêtre. What would I see
there? An idiot who allows his saliva to collect in his open mouth;
another who has epileptic fits; a third who can say nothing but 'Ba,
ba!' What would that prove? The only way in which one can find out
whether a school for bad cases of mental deficiency is good for
anything, is to find out the mental condition of those who leave. How
many defective subjects are there who, after having been treated at
the Salpêtrière or at Bicêtre, are able to gain their own livelihood?
That is what one would like to know, and that is what no one ever
tells us!"

The listener to these incisive and sensible remarks replied, after a
moment's reflection: "I entirely agree with you. The information which
you desire is of the greatest importance for judging the value of a
school. I imagine that such information would be difficult to obtain.
But one can try. I am willing to make the attempt."

A few days later the two authors of the present work took the field.
The long preliminary conversations which they had had together about
this subject had convinced them that they would encounter opposition.
But they decided to treat the question as one treats a scientific
matter--with perseverance, with courage, and without _parti pris_ of
any kind.

Let us subdivide the question to make it more plain. We proposed to
discover the value of a school. To make such an inquiry really
complete, it would be necessary to consider the question from two
points of view--the one educational, the other social.

The educational return consists in the degree of instruction which the
institution succeeds in giving to its pupils, after so much time, and
with so much expense. In the case of an institution for the sick, the
return will take the medical form of a cure or improvement of health.
In order to estimate such various returns, it would evidently be
necessary to be in possession of various data: (1) A knowledge of the
state of instruction or the state of health of the subjects on their
admission to the school; (2) a knowledge of their state of instruction
or of health on leaving, so that one would be able to estimate by
comparison what they owe to the school; (3) a knowledge of the cost
for each pupil, whether for instruction or for medical expenses.

The social return consists in the place taken by the pupils in
society. This depends in part, it is clear, upon the educational
return, but only in part. One could imagine a school, and there are
some of the kind, which only cares about producing graduates, without
thinking of what will become of them in life, even if they go to the
dogs. Every class, every school, for defectives ought to aim at
rendering its pupils socially useful. It is not a question of
enriching their minds, but of giving them the means of working for
their living. This is an important question. Upon this depends our
complete and final judgment of the utility of special education.

And be it understood this is not a simple question. Nothing is simple
in the sphere of sociological phenomena, and one cannot get hold of an
atom of truth except by inquiries bristling with difficulties of all
kinds--inquiries whose rules, moreover, are not yet known, but which
will certainly be known some day. It is quite necessary.

In order to discover the social return of an institution, school, or
hospital, there are many data to be brought together. Here are some of
them. What is the number of those who are ultimately able to look
after themselves? For how long a time are they able to do so? To what
extent have they been assisted by what they acquired at school? And,
lastly, what becomes of the failures?

But whatever the social or educational return may be, it would be most
important to know what would have become of similar cases who had
received no such instruction, or, rather, who had been instructed or
treated by different methods.

A single example will show the importance of these reservations.
Recently an alienist wanted to prove that all the idiots, without
exception, who had been treated in his asylum had been improved. He
published copious notes upon these children, which had been taken during
several years by different people--the physician, resident doctor,
attendant, teacher, etc. On reading these observations one learned that
one child, who on admission was unable to walk, by-and-by began to do
so. He had grown; he had also begun to speak, etc. In all this there was
nothing surprising, and we imagine that, in spite of his optimism, the
doctor, who is the author of these observations, would not pretend to
credit an increase in size to his medico-pedagogical treatment. As to
the rest of the development of the faculties we know nothing. It is
possible that an idiot who has ceased to be dirty, or who has learned to
dress himself, would have done so in any case without object-lessons. It
would be necessary to understand the natural development of idiocy in
order to estimate exactly the service which had been rendered by the
medico-pedagogical treatment. Otherwise sceptics will suspect that
three-quarters of what is claimed to be the result of treatment is
really due to nature.

After these preliminaries, let us now turn to our inquiry.

=At the Salpêtrière.=--Here we were received most kindly. The
superintendent of the hospital introduced us to a most excellent
woman, Mme. Meusy, who was at that time head-mistress of the school
for defectives at the Salpêtrière. This is a little school with about
140 girl pupils. It is part of the clinique of Dr. Voisin. The school
is divided into four classes, each of which is under a lady teacher.
It is a modest school, and, we think, little known. Elementary
education is given there, and, be it understood, the teachers make a
point of object-lessons and the training of the senses. But this
education has no original feature. It simply follows what is done
elsewhere. There is a workshop where the patients skilfully
manufacture artificial flowers. Dr. Voisin has for a long time been
asking for a laundry, for the sake of the patients who require
physical exercise, but he has not been able to get it.

Mme. Meusy had prepared us to some extent for the work which she had
done in the school by intelligent organisation. It was a pleasure to
us to see with our own eyes the notes she had kept regarding each of
her pupils. All the schedules were in perfect order, regularly filled
up to the day. They contained all the medical information, as to
diagnosis and treatment, which Mme. Meusy had been able to procure
from the doctor by reiterated requests. They contained also full
particulars as to the state of instruction of the child, her
character, her aptitudes, and the amount of her school attendance.
Such notes were repeated periodically, so that it was easy to find out
approximately whether or not the child had progressed during her stay
in the school. Finally, her history after discharge was noted. It is
only just that we should here express once more to Mme. Meusy how much
we admired the care, the order, and the intelligence with which she
had kept these individual histories. It is an example to be followed.

Mme. Meusy readily placed before us one after another all these
documents, and allowed us to extract from them the notes which seemed
of most value for our work. While one of us was taking the notes, she
contributed much valuable information in a lively voice; for she knew
her pupils admirably, she followed them after they left school, and
often received visits from them. But, although she clearly understood
the importance of our inquiry, she could not keep to herself a
distressing thought, which was that a large number of these
unfortunate girls had obtained no benefit from the instruction
received at the school during a long series of years. The majority, on
leaving school, had been transferred to asylums for adults. It
saddened her to acknowledge such impotence officially. However,
neither she nor her devoted staff of teachers was responsible, for if
their educational success was restricted, that was due to the fact
that the administration had for some time been sending her the
epileptic defectives, while reserving for the Fondation Vallée the
privilege of having the non-epileptic defectives. Now, everyone knows
that when epilepsy, with repeated fits, is present, it produces a
mental decadence against which the best teacher is powerless.

The information which we have collected about the work of the school
of the Salpêtrière bears upon 117 children, who had left the school
during the period of four years. Now, this is how these children are
distributed, if they are classified according to their condition on

1. Children who had _improved_. Some of these had returned to their
families; they lived at home, and were employed, more or less, and the
directress states that they had improved in their mental condition.
These numbered eight. Others had become capable of following a
calling, either in the asylum as attendants, or outside as
seamstresses, ironers, laundresses, domestic servants, etc. These
numbered twelve. (None was employed in making artificial flowers, for
which there was a workshop in the school.) The total number who had
improved, therefore, was twenty.

2. _Doubtful_ cases--children who had returned to their families, but
concerning whose mental state and employment precise information was
lacking. These numbered twenty.

3. Those who had got _worse_. These are the cases who had been marked
"transferred." They are to be found in the lunatic asylums, where they
are destined to pass the rest of their existence. Of these there is a
formidable number--namely, sixty.

4. Those who had _died_, of whom there were seventeen.

From all these calculations we obtained a figure to remember, and also
an opinion.

The figure is that the school for defectives at the Salpêtrière
returns to active life 12 per cent. of its pupils.

The opinion is what one might have known in advance, that in the
majority of these cases the education given was a waste of effort, for
none of the pupils who had acquired a calling had been affected by the
worst degree of mental deficiency, idiocy, or imbecility. Moreover, none
of these was epileptic as well as mentally defective. In other words,
the two worst degrees of mental deficiency do not permit any hope that
the child will be made capable of following any calling; and even a
lesser degree of deficiency--that is to say, feeble-mindedness--is
equally cut off from hope when the feeble-mindedness is complicated by

Before drawing from this first inquiry any practical conclusions, we
should like to reach a comprehensive view of the question. We shall
give our conclusions after we have synthetised all our results.

After the Salpêtrière, Bicêtre.

=Bicêtre.=--The reader would be wrong to imagine that in these visits
to the hospitals we are forgetting the school cases of mental
deficiency; we are at the heart of the question. Whether we are
dealing with hospital cases or school cases, there are details of
organisation which are the same for all, and there are similar
mistakes which we must try to avoid.

The asylum-school of Bicêtre, which owes its origin, in 1892, to the
General Council of the Seine, and its organisation to Dr. Bourneville,
has a world-wide reputation. Dr. Bourneville has set himself to
demonstrate, by every possible means, that idiots can be improved if
they are treated methodically and progressively. It is thanks to his
initiative that the medico-pedagogical treatment of idiocy, a
treatment which has been much vaunted by the doctors, is now known
everywhere. His clinique has constantly been cited as a model. This
model has been imitated in France and more especially abroad. The
asylums of Saint-Yon, of La Roche-sur-Yon, of Clermont, of
Sainte-Gemme, and of Auxerre, have been inspired by the example of
Bicêtre, and have followed its methods. The State supports 440 boys in
the asylum-school of Bicêtre, and 230 girls at the Fondation Vallée.

We have no intention of describing here at length the organisation of
these establishments. All who are interested may join in the Saturday
morning visits, when Dr. Bourneville goes round the whole of his
clinique. We shall content ourselves by saying that the children in
the asylum-school of Bicêtre are divided into three groups:

1. The group of _invalids_--children who are idiotic, dirty,
epileptic, demented. In this group are those who are regarded as
incurable, and some who, although completely idiotic, are capable of
some slight improvement. By means of a _swing_ or _see-saw_ their
limbs are strengthened, by means of a _go-cart_ they are taught to
walk, and by means of the _parallel bars_ they are taught to keep
themselves upright.

2. The _healthy_ children of the _little school_, all of whom are able
to walk alone. These undergo treatment for uncleanly habits. Special
chairs are kept for the dirty, who are placed at stated times upon
conveniences in order to regularise their functions. Then come
_strengthening exercises_, which are gymnastics of a very simple kind;
_toilet lessons_ to teach them to wash themselves; _table lessons_, to
teach them to feed themselves, with spoon, fork, and even knife; the
_training of the senses_; and, lastly, _training in speech_.

3. The third group includes children in the _big school_. These are
less defective than the preceding. They are fit and healthy. But, on
the other hand, there are found here a great many abnormal children
(perverse and ill-balanced) who are not wanting in intelligence. The
big school includes four classes, each under the charge of a
professor. The education, especially in the last class, is carried
pretty far, and many of the pupils possess their certificate of study.

For reasons upon which we will not insist, we were not so delighted
with the hospital of Bicêtre as we had been with the Salpêtrière. We
might have dispensed with this visit. The medical superintendent of
the school for defectives at Bicêtre has taken the trouble for a long
time to publish regularly every year a volume of several hundred
pages, which contains the most diverse statistical information about
everything that goes on. We have studied the volumes bearing upon four
years only--the years 1899, 1901, 1902, and 1903. Moreover, we profess
that we have some knowledge of the school at Bicêtre, having not only
joined several times in the Saturday visits, but having on several
occasions carried on there researches in cephalometry; and, in the
last place, we have had the pleasure of following in their inspection
two members of the ministerial commission, who had had the idea of
finding out how the teachers in the big school were fulfilling their

It will be remembered that we made a distinction between the
educational and the social return. This distinction is not recognised
by everyone, and many good people take into account only the social
return. There are those who would judge the school of Bicêtre by one
thing only--the number of patients who are made useful to society.
This is a question of great interest, but it is wrong to think that it
is the only one to be considered. It would be unjust to confine
oneself to it. The injustice can be understood by supposing that one
is considering an institution which receives idiots only. Would one
judge such an institution by asking how many of its patients become
capable of winning their livelihood? Certainly not. It is possible to
be of real service to the patients without raising them to such a
level. The cure of dirty habits, for example, is not a thing to be
disdained. Not only does it result in an economy of linen and washing,
but it makes the patient less disgusting, less difficult to take care
of. Here we have material and moral improvement which, even for those
who consider expense only, cannot be considered negligible, for in the
end the result is pecuniary economy. But, having stated this
principle, it would be necessary to find out what is the value, what
is the duration, what is the frequency of such improvements. It would
be necessary to know what is their cost, and to compare the cost with
the results in order to find out where one was. This kind of
stock-taking, both financial and medical, has no place in the
publications of the Bicêtre, and cannot be replaced by isolated
observations on the treatment and improvement of idiot children. There
is here, therefore, a first lacuna. We note also with regret the
absence of any inspection of the teachers in the schools, who are left
to themselves without any supervision but that of the doctor. Now, the
doctor is not usually an educationist, and it is to be regretted that
he does not himself recognise his incompetency in pedagogy, but that,
on the contrary, his nature, often prone to take offence, will not
submit to any collaboration in his work. Having said this, we are
going to confine ourselves to the social return of the school of
Bicêtre, since it is affirmed that such a return exists.

We would like to know exactly how many boys and girls have been able,
after their discharge, to work at a trade and to maintain themselves.
Upon this point of capital importance the publications of Bicêtre tell
us nothing--absolutely nothing. It is, therefore, impossible to find
out the real value of this institution, so richly endowed, where the
visitor perambulates palatial buildings, is saluted by a fanfare, and
admires museums of natural history which would be the envy of many a
public educational establishment. The publications give a number of
particulars as to the number of dancing lessons, the walks to the
Jardin d'Acclimatation, and the cost of laundry, etc.; but we are left
in entire ignorance as to what all this is good for, and what is the
practical tangible benefit which society receives from it.

Everyone knows, however, that the director of the school for
defectives at Bicêtre is an enlightened philanthropist, who has
devoted himself with remarkable zeal and activity to procuring for his
old pupils situations which they are capable of filling. He has
understood, and was one of the first to do so, that the question of
the education of defectives will never be settled until one has
settled that of the social usefulness of these children.

We have even learned indirectly that he has made many endeavours to
induce employers to engage his defectives as workmen; but it is likely
that these suggestions have not met with the success they deserved,
for the employers, threatened by the new law regarding accidents at
work, hesitate to saddle themselves with workers who, being liable to
attacks of epilepsy, or affected by motor inability, would lay upon
them a very heavy responsibility. On the other hand, the school
education has had a good deal of success since it has happened, as we
have already remarked, that several of the pupils obtained their
certificates of study.[14] But the only publications which we have
consulted say no more about these certificates of study than about the
trades followed by the defectives after leaving school. This silence
is very significant. In spite of oneself, one puts a bad
interpretation upon it. One has an irresistible tendency to believe,
not that all the effort at Bicêtre has been in vain, but that it has
been disproportionate in relation to the result achieved.

We have no difficulty in admitting that idiots have been improved, but
to what an extent this amelioration loses in importance if the
majority of these idiots are destined to pass the rest of their life
in an asylum, where they will be nourished in absolute idleness, and
where, consequently, the heedless administration will gain nothing for
what has been taught them at the price of such great efforts!

Let us try, however, to interpret the silence of the text. In four
years 240 boys have left the school at Bicêtre. In studying the school
of the Salpêtrière we distinguished three classes of children--the
_improved_, the _stationary_ or _doubtful_, and those who have got
_worse_. We have consulted the statistical tables of Bicêtre, and we
have not found a single one marked _worse_, although one-third of the
entire contingent are epileptic. Now, this is very surprising, since
we know that epilepsy with repeated fits inexorably results in mental
decadence. It is an enigma, which we explain in the following manner:
Those who are really decadent have been marked _stationary_ by
medical or pedagogical optimism. If our interpretation is correct, it
recoils forcibly upon the expression _improved_, which is applied
frequently to those discharged. To the interpretation of this word
_improved_ we are, therefore, obliged to turn our attention.

What, then, must be understood by _improved_ when this word is found
in the publications of Bicêtre? First of all we must subtract a
certain number of subjects who have been marked _transferred_. We know
what is meant by this little word _transferred_ when it is applied to
the children. It is lugubrious. It amounts to a sentence for life. A
subject _transferred_ is one who, his time at school come to an end,
is removed to an asylum for the insane, where, in all probability, he
will stay to the end of his useless existence. If we eliminate the
transferred, and if we keep amongst the improved only those who,
having been so designated, have returned to their families, we get a
proportion of 58 in 290--that is, 20 per cent. of boys.

This proportion seems to us too large, on account of the optimism
which these documents exhibit. It is to be noticed, however, that
children are sometimes marked _very much improved_, or _notably
improved_. If, for the sake of prudence, we consider as improved only
those who are designated in this way, we have only eighteen, or 7 per

This new proportion, if small in absolute value, still seems to us an
exaggeration, because it is reached only by including a certain number
of children affected with epilepsy. It must, therefore, be believed
that their epilepsy has improved. But the amelioration or cure of
epilepsy is not a matter of education; it cannot be considered as a
success to be credited to active medico-pedagogical treatment. Let us
therefore put the cured epileptics aside. There will then remain only
seven who have undergone a notable amelioration and have returned to
their families. What percentage is this? The total contingent upon
which we have been making our calculations numbered 290, but it is
right to exclude all the epileptics, for the reasons we have
mentioned. This brings the number down to 216, and the number of
children really improved, calculated upon 216, amounts, for the boys,
to from 3 to 4 per cent.

By similar calculations, into the details of which we will not enter,
we have shown that the improved amongst the girls are more
numerous--namely, 20 per cent. But Vallée contains relatively far
fewer epileptics than Bicêtre. We do not know, also, how many of them
have become capable of working at a trade.

We therefore conclude with the following propositions:

1. _At the school of the Salpêtrière, 20 per cent. of defective girls
improved, and 12 per cent. are able to work at a trade._

2. _At the Fondation Vallée, also, 20 per cent. of defective girls
have improved. No return has been furnished as to their future

3. _In the case of Bicêtre, the number of defective boys improved is
from 3 to 4 per cent. It is not known how many of these defectives are
employed after leaving school._

       *       *       *       *       *

=Some Conclusions.=--It seldom happens that one finishes an inquiry
without experiencing some disappointment. One starts with great
ambitions, intending to make everything plain, but on the way one is
forced to lower one's flag. The truth escapes one. Sometimes it is the
facts which conceal it from us, sometimes it is man who has an
interest in concealing it. But the disappointment which has attended
our inquiry would surpass the foresight of the most sceptical. On the
other hand, if the school for defectives at the Salpêtrière has
enabled us to collect valuable information, we owe this good fortune
entirely to the intelligent initiative of a woman. It was the
directress of the school who, apart from all intervention, medical or
other, had had the idea of instituting these very complete schedules,
which enabled us to discover the economic return of her school. The
management deserved none of the credit. As to the school of Bicêtre,
we have studied it only through its annual publications, and we have
managed with great difficulty to obtain only an infinitesimal amount
of information of very doubtful value.

What lessons are we to draw from these examples as to the future
organisation of our schools for defectives? We had hoped that the
study of these institutions would have provided us with ready-made
experience as to the measures to be taken for founding schools for
defectives under good conditions. The contrary has happened. The
example of these institutions has taught us one thing--the faults
which we ought not to repeat.

Every impartial mind ought to be with us when we express the view that
henceforth the activities of the schools and hospices should be made
plain by precise information. For this it would be necessary to take
the following measures:

1. That the definition of the grades of mental deficiency should not
vary from one doctor to another, but that one should know what is
meant by the word _idiot_, the word _imbecile_, and the word
_feeble-minded_. A purely conventional but precise definition would be
infinitely better than the present want of any; and we refer to the
convention which we have suggested above.

2. That upon entrance and leaving, the mental condition and the state
of instruction of the pupils should be precisely noted, so that by
comparison of such notes, rather than by arbitrary estimates, one
should be able to determine in what way the pupils have changed during
their stay in school.

3. That on leaving the institution, the children, whether they return
to ordinary life or are transferred to asylums for the insane, should
be followed up, and that particulars regarding their condition should
be transmitted to, and centralised in, the office of the school, so
that the masters may be able to judge the ulterior destiny of these
children whom they have surrounded with so much solicitude during a
period which often amounts to twelve or even fifteen years.

By such organisation one would at last know exactly, or at any rate
approximately, what are the services rendered by such an institution.
One would compare these services with the expenses, and one would see
whether the receipts were sufficient to justify the expenditure, or
whether, on the contrary, the money had been foolishly squandered, as
we have reason to fear may be the case. We would also see upon what
children educational effort should be directed, in order to obtain the
maximum return. It would be possible to find out, for example, whether
it is worth while continuing for five years, eight years, or more, to
give lessons in reading to a child who, after two years, is still
unable to spell. We will also consider very seriously whether a child
who is unfortunately subject to repeated attacks of epilepsy, which no
medical treatment has improved, and who is destined to descend
progressively and inevitably through all stages of mental decadence,
should be kept in his place in a class; and whether the teachers would
not be doing better to leave the child at peace than to teach him
laboriously the rules of arithmetic and grammar, which will certainly
be forgotten soon afterwards in the cloud which will obscure the

One day, when we were walking through a residential school, we were
struck by the spectacle of a poor epileptic. This was a little girl of
about fifteen years of age. She was wearing her school apron, and upon
her head was the little osier cap which epileptics are made to wear,
to avoid the danger of falls upon the head. It was lesson-time. Pale
and thin, the little patient was sitting quietly in her place,
listening to the lesson of her mistress, who was explaining the rule
of the agreement of the participle. Did she understand? We hope so,
since she belonged to one of the higher classes--the second, if we
remember rightly. In any case, she was making a great effort to follow
the grammatical explanation, and her forehead was thrown into
wrinkles. All at once she gave a slight sigh, slipped down in her
seat, and fell. The attendant took her in her arms and carried her
into a corner of the room. The lesson continued with general
indifference. The children pay little attention to such accidents,
because they are so used to them. Now one, now another, has her attack
of epilepsy. After a few minutes our little scholar came to herself.
She appeared quite dazed. The attendant spoke to her with kind
indifference. "Come, now, that is better. It is nothing. It is all
over." The child did not reply, but docilely allowed herself to be led
to her seat. She took up her former position, appearing to listen
vaguely; and on her pinched face, with its drawn features, the lesson
in grammar continued to fall. The people, visitors and professors, who
were present at that scene, and thought it quite natural, surely did
not understand the heart-break of it. Some time afterwards we made
inquiries about this pupil, being curious to know how she was, and
what she was doing. We were told: "She is a poor little thing, who has
forgotten a great deal. Formerly she was a bright child. Now she is
going back every day. By-and-by she will no longer be able to read.
This is nearly always the way with our epileptics!"

This sad story, which we have just recalled, we give as a striking
illustration of our statistical calculations regarding the ultimate
fate of these institution cases. Be it remembered, we had reached this
very important conclusion: that epileptics, whether feeble-minded, or
imbecile, or idiotic, never become capable of working at a trade. This
somewhat vague conclusion it would be of great interest to examine
more closely. Our little epileptic, who is gradually falling back, is
an example. She has already reached the height of her development; she
is fifteen years of age, and she is beginning to decline. We foresee
the time when she will no longer know how to read. Is there, then,
any use in wearying the poor thing by teaching her an abstract grammar

       *       *       *       *       *

Let us turn now to our school cases. Our conclusions may be divined.
We expressly demand that the utility of the schools shall be
rigorously established, and that the teachers and inspectors shall be
bound to take exact notes of the mental condition and the state of
instruction of the pupils on entrance and on leaving. In this way one
will act like any good shopkeeper, who considers it one of his chief
duties to keep accounts of what he is doing. His system of
book-keeping shows his position in a way which is indispensable if he
is not to lose his money. He knows at what price he buys, at what
price and under what conditions he sells, and whether, in consequence,
his profits are sufficient to encourage him to continue to deal in
such and such articles.

In the same way, in a well-managed school for defectives, it is
necessary to know the exact details concerning the condition of the
pupils on entrance and on leaving, in order that one may be able to
judge the services rendered by the school; in order that one may be
able to find out whether the educational methods employed are good,
bad, or indifferent; whether they are better than those of another
school, where different methods are followed, and so on. Such control
is equally necessary in order to find out whether a particular
category of children gives greater degrees of success than another;
whether certain degrees of mental deficiency are capable of
improvement only to an infinitesimal extent. Such things cannot be
known in advance, and should not be decided lightly in credence of an
_a priori_ opinion, but should be determined by accurate scientific
methods, in the interest of the schools, in the interest of the
pupils, and also in the interest of the tax-payers, who bear the cost.
It will not do to content oneself with admiring _in abstracto_ the
goodness of the methods and the progress of the pupils, but it must
ever be remembered that the aim of the schools should be to fit the
defectives to take a useful place in society. The school should not
aim at turning out brilliant pupils, stars in competition, but
individuals capable of looking after themselves and gaining their own
livelihood. This should be the constant pre-occupation of the
teachers. They should not shut themselves up within the four walls of
their school, saying, "The life outside is no concern of ours." It is
their imperative duty to consider the school life as a preparation for
life outside. They ought, therefore, to pay attention to the needs of
the immediate school environment, in order to know what are the
industries which require workers, to take account of which of them are
accessible to defectives, and to direct their education accordingly.
Domestic service in the country, for example, which requires but
little initiative, would seem to be an excellent refuge for
feeble-minded girls with good instincts. Agricultural labour supplies
an excellent outlet for the boys, for in the country life is less
complicated, and adaptation is more easy, than in the towns. There is
a certain, practical, even easy way of finding out whether the teacher
has been trying to keep in contact with real life, and whether his
school for defectives is well managed. It is to find out what becomes
of the defectives on leaving school, and what percentage he has been
able to place in situations with a suitable salary.

Such measures of control are so logical that they only require to be
formulated to obtain the immediate assent of all sensible minds. Yet
one may ask whether, as a matter of fact, in the schools managed by
the State, the inspectors occupy themselves sufficiently with this
practical side of education, and do not even make the mistake of
judging the education by itself, according to a conventional,
literary, or scientific ideal. We are not speaking of public schools,
colleges, and lycées. These establishments are attended by normal
children, and it may be admitted that it is not, strictly speaking,
the business of the State to prepare these for social life. As a
matter of fact, that is not our own opinion, but that does not matter.
What is certain is that the duty of the State becomes more precise and
more pressing when it is a question of assuring the lot of the
defectives. Has it always been kept in mind that their education
should put them in the way of an occupation, and that one should teach
them nothing useless, so as not to make them lose their time? We do
not think so. We hope that the schools for the blind take care to know
whether the Braille which they teach their pupils is a method of
reading and writing which will be useful to them in life; whether the
manual arts, such as caning chairs, the making of brushes and
mattresses, are the best means which they can teach to the
non-musicians whereby to gain their bread. We equally hope that in the
schools for the deaf and dumb, which are teaching their pupils by the
oral method--with what effort, what expense, and what devotion one may
imagine--they have inquired what percentage of their pupils attained
the ability to communicate verbally with people other than their
teachers, and also what is the percentage of pupils who, ten years
after leaving school, still use that method and find it advantageous.
All these questions should be asked, and conscientious minds should
try to find an answer to them by impartial inquiry, in order to find
out whether the methods are useful, and whether the school is
directing its energies well. What is being done about this with
respect to the schools for defectives?

We must do this justice to the legislation at present projected with
regard to defectives, that it is not indifferent with regard to this
question of control. The Ministerial Commission, in which one of us
took part, heard many demands for guarantees of this kind. Its
mistrust was awakened, and it made a number of suggestions which have
been included in the Bill.

Thus, an elementary school inspector is trusted with the duty of
taking account of the educational progress of each child. A little
book must be kept recording full particulars of each individual case.
The principle of supervision by a Care Committee after leaving school
has been adopted. All this is excellent. The law cannot enter into
minute details. Administrative rules must be drawn up to provide
against the two causes of error, prejudice and negligence.

Let us consider this question from our own point of view, and
distinguish clearly between the educational and the social return.

=The Educational Return of the Special Schools and Classes.=--In the
first place, in order to gauge the advantages of special education, it
is necessary to find out what becomes of defectives when they are left
in the ordinary schools. It is quite clear that special education
should be condemned and suppressed if it does not do more than the
ordinary schools. We have seen that, in the latter, the defective is a
dead weight, and the ill-balanced is a nuisance. Nevertheless, one
must not jump to the conclusion that these children are in no wise
modified by the school influences, and do not profit in any degree by
the instruction. We have already pointed out some very touching facts:
a little defective girl has learned to read, thanks to the persevering
help of one of her normal companions. This proves, at least, that
association with normal children may be good for something, but let us
leave such anecdotes and attempt to reach a comprehensive view of the

We have been able to collect in the primary schools of Paris, thanks
to the kind assistance of M. Belot, particulars which are very
valuable, though restricted in amount. These particulars we have
examined in every possible way, and we always reach the same
conclusion: _the defective makes very slow progress in the ordinary

Let us consider, for example, _en bloc_, forty-five defectives of
whom we possess records, and see to what extent they are behind at
different ages. We get the following table:

    Age.           Retardation.
      7        2   years }
      8        2     "   } about 2 years.
      9        1-½   "   }

     10        3     "   }
     11        3-½   "   } about 3 years.
     12        3     "   }
     13        3-½   "   }

     14        6     "   }
     15        5     "   } about 5 years.

Thus, the amount of retardation increases with the years. It is at
first two years, then three, then five. But this augmentation in the
amount of retardation, which is the first fact to strike the
attention, ought not to conceal from us that there is real progress in
the mental condition and in the studies; in fact, we may remark that
if a defective child, in passing from the age of eight to eleven, has
an augmentation of retardation of one year with respect to his
companions, this proves that in the same time he has progressed two
years with respect to himself. It is like an omnibus which goes more
and more slowly, yet advances all the same. To be more precise, let us
say that, since the defectives reach, as an upper limit, the
intermediate course, and that in the proportion of two-thirds, one may
conclude that they make nearly half the progress of the normal
children. Be it understood, this is only roughly true, and many
reservations must be made with regard to details. But the indication
which these documents afford is, nevertheless, very instructive, for
it shows us that the majority, two-thirds at least, of the defectives
appear regularly to duplicate each class, or to take two years to pass
a stage which the normal child passes in one. It is important to
remember this, for the teachers do not always give the facts their
true value. They have a tendency to compare the slow progress of the
defective with the more rapid progress of the normal, and to conclude
from this comparison that the defective remains stationary. This is a
pure illusion, which may be compared to what one experiences when
looking out of the window of a train in motion. One sees another train
going in the same direction but more slowly, and imagines that the
second train is not moving. Let us retain, therefore, provisionally,
the following important idea: _Only half the defectives in an ordinary
school reach with difficulty the intermediate course, first year,
passing through the different stages in double the normal time._ No
doubt one would find many examples of slower progress still, three or
four times the normal. On the other hand, the teacher sometimes points
out a defective who has improved very rapidly, as if his intellect
awoke from a long sleep. Such cases exist, but they are very rare, and
they are open to the suspicion that an error in diagnosis has been
made, and that the child who has improved so greatly was wrongly
considered defective.

With regard to the ill-balanced, the success of the ordinary school is
much greater. A recent inquiry taught us that in the course of two
years half the children noted as ill-balanced were regarded by the
teachers as improved. This figure speaks for itself.

From this we may conclude in a general way that it is essential that
the special schools and classes should bring more than half of their
defective pupils to the level of the intermediate course, and improve
more than half of the ill-balanced, if they are to render public
services superior to those of the ordinary schools.

This must be the aim. How are we to know whether it is attained or
not? By supervision exercised in the most serious manner, by well-kept
individual records, in which are noted only facts which can be

We remember, a dozen years ago, having turned over the records of
young defectives in an asylum-school which had the reputation of
perfect organisation, a reputation otherwise deserved, for everything
that was shown to the public on visiting days was perfect. But a
distinction must be drawn between what one sees and what one does not
see. The records were kept with surprising negligence. They were dirty
in appearance, torn, disordered, falling to bits. On reading them one
only met with vague estimations, loosely expressed, about children
who, as was repeated to satiety, "would make progress if they would
work better." The less we say the better about contradictory
diagnosis, such as one we noticed on a certificate of discharge:
"Complete idiocy--very much improved"; or the too optimistic
prognosis, really very naïve, if the writer has not had the bad taste
to be ironical: "Vicious child--would make an excellent housemaid." If
documents could be kept in this way, it is quite clear that those who
so kept them felt pretty sure that nobody would ever read them.

We demand that the notes which show the educational progress of the
pupils should be written under the constant fear of control, in order
that they may be guaranteed against negligence and interested
optimism. The manner of control is very simple, and may be summed up
in three paragraphs.

1. The estimation of the progress of the children should be made by
the professors themselves, since they know each child well. The
professor will always keep in mind that his notes will be checked by
the inspector. With regard to instruction, notes will be kept with
regard to reading, writing, arithmetic, spelling, according to the
methods which we have indicated, and such remarks as "good," "very
good," "passable," each signifying absolutely nothing, will be
avoided. With regard to the manual work, it goes without saying that
the record would have to be made in a somewhat different way.

2. The inspector will examine a certain number of cases chosen
haphazard. He must carry out this control with an open mind and
without prejudice.

3. He will make use of methods of control of a strictly impersonal

=Social Return.=--We are surprised to find that abroad there have been
published very few particulars concerning the social return of the
schools, although they have been in existence for a long time, some of
them for forty years. Statistics are rare, without commentaries, and
some of them are apparently prejudiced. In order to find out what they
are worth, we think it would be necessary to live in the country, and
to observe carefully for oneself the work of the schools. The official
documents do not teach very much, and one may suspect that every
public service which is not supervised in the most intelligent manner,
and incited by competition, will slip into routine and empiricism. We
demand an inquiry on the two following points: How many defectives are
provided with a trade when they leave the special schools? How many
defectives are provided with a trade when they do not leave the
special schools?

Such an inquiry, we may be certain, has never been seriously
undertaken. Here are some statistics. Mme. Fuster, after a stay in
Germany, where she visited some _Hilfschule_ and _Hilfsclasse_
(literally, "help-schools" and "help-classes") made a communication to
the Société de l'Enfant, from which it appears that in the case of 90
classes for defectives in Berlin, 70 to 75 per cent. of the defective
pupils who were there became able to carry on a trade; 25 to 30 per
cent. died in the course of study, or returned to their homes, or were
sent to medical institutions for idiots.

According to a more recent inquiry, made under the auspices of M. de
Gizycki at Berlin, and published in a book by Paul Dubois, 22 per
cent. of the children were sent home or to asylums; 11 per cent. were
apprenticed; 62 per cent. worked at occupations which required no
knowledge and yielded little pay (labourers, crossing-sweepers,
ragmen). If we add together these two last groups, we reach a
proportion of 73 per cent. of defectives who have been made, or who
have become, more or less useful.

We shall quote a last document, to which we attach more importance
than to the preceding, for we have full confidence in the author. Dr.
Decroly has kindly arranged at our request a few figures relating to
the occupational classification of the girls discharged from a special
class in Brussels. He states that the class was opened only in 1903,
that education in Belgium is not compulsory, that many of the pupils
leave the class too soon--all circumstances which explain the
smallness of the success. He firmly believes in the educational value
of special instruction, provided one does not expect miracles. He has
a good critical mind. We cannot publish here the whole table. We shall
summarise it thus:

Of three idiots, practically nothing is known; of eight imbeciles, one
is employed at home, one unemployed (?), and one is messenger to a
shoemaker. One can scarcely expect any real return in the case of
imbeciles and idiots, and the merit of Dr. Decroly's statistics lies
in the fact of distinguishing between such children and the
feeble-minded. Let us speak more fully of the latter. They are thirty
in number. Concerning nine there are no particulars. Two have entered
a Catholic school, and nothing more is known about them. If we
subtract these eleven, there remain nineteen. Some of these are "kept
at home," or "occupied at home"; of these there are five. We do not
know exactly what they are doing. There are others who "work," but it
is not stated whether this is outside, or whether the work deserves to
be taken into account. Four belong to this category. There remain the
apprentices (tailors, cigarette-makers, sewers, etc.), of whom there
are nine. Perhaps the last figure is the only one which deserves to be
taken into account. Finally, then, out of nineteen feeble-minded
subjects, regarding whom particulars have been supplied, one half, or
50 per cent., have been apprenticed; or more than half, 75 per cent.,
if we count the defectives who "work." We are not, therefore, very far
from the figures collected by Mme. Fuster for the special classes of
Berlin, nor from those published by Gizycki.

We do not think enough of the ordinary school, and of the service it
renders to the defectives; or, rather, we are too ready to assert that
it does nothing for them. Yet, all the defectives who leave it do not
turn out badly. There are journalists who try to attract the attention
of public bodies by declaring that defectives, left to themselves,
inevitably fall into mendicancy and crime. What do they know about it?
Absolutely nothing, since no serious inquiry has ever been carried
out. Even we, for several years, allowed ourselves to be influenced by
such suggestions, until the day when one of these journalists went
rather too far. We refer to an alienist who published in a morning
paper a series of articles on the defectives. After having estimated
their total number at 40,000, he called them "the madmen of
to-morrow," truly an excellent title for a sensational article. But,
little as one might think it, of all that was written nothing was
really proved. Those who think that the defectives are destined to
become lunatics are just as much in a dream as those who declare they
will become criminals. The fact is that we are in complete ignorance,
because one has always recoiled from an inquiry which promised to be
as long as it would be troublesome. And it is a disgrace, let us say
frankly, that no State has ever undertaken it.

Through the intervention of an inspector, M. Belot, we have inquired
of twenty heads of schools what has become of the defectives whom they
notified to us two years ago. We have made these inquiries with regard
to sixty-six children only. Poor figures, indeed, and we would not
give them, but that a little is better than nothing. These sixty-six
children may be classified thus: Thirty-five are defective,
twenty-six ill-balanced, and three both defective and ill-balanced.
Retardation is quite plain in the unstable, amounting to from one to
two years; it is very marked in the case of the defectives (one alone
has a retardation of two years, the others have a retardation of
three, four, six, and even seven years). We give these figures only
that it may not be imagined that we are dealing with cases of slight
feeble-mindedness with a retardation of one or two years. It is
necessary to understand these details in order to form a correct idea
of the value of the figures.

The particulars regarding the ultimate destiny of these sixty-six
children are as follows:

1. _No Return in the Case of Fourteen Children._--Some left the
district without giving an address. Some even left school with insults
from the parents directed against the teachers.

2. _Children still at School._--These number twenty-two. We have
already spoken about this little group, and have remarked that some of
them have improved.

3. _Children sent Home or placed in Asylums._--There are three who
have been sent to asylums. We know one of them, an imbecile, but he
had bad instincts, and who knows but that he might have been made
useful? With regard to the others, who have been sent home, we have
only very vague particulars, and the interpretation of their condition
is quite arbitrary. Some of them seem to be useful. Some girls help at
home. Some boys assist their fathers at their work, but are said to be
wanting in balance or to require constant supervision. We have thought
it well to include them in this third category, which stands for the
social waste. They number ten. We repeat that the limits of this group
are extremely ill-defined. With a little optimism one might have
passed three-quarters into the following group; with a little more
strictness, on the other hand, the present group would have been
larger. We emphasise the difficulty of limiting the frontier
impartially. It would be a good thing to make use of a criterion,
good or bad, but exact. One will, no doubt, be found, but in the
meantime we have none.

4. _Children who have become Useful._--These are they who have become
capable of following some calling. It is evident that one should take
account of the nature of the calling followed; many are misery in
disguise. A little time should also be allowed, for a child may not
find definite occupation immediately on leaving school. In fact, the
only particular we have regarding this last group of children is, that
they have entered on an apprenticeship. Girls are apprenticed to
dressmakers or laundresses. Boys are apprenticed as hairdressers,
tinsmiths, gilders, printers, carpenters, etc. These children number
seventeen. These results have impressed us rather favourably. We did
not expect that the majority of defectives from the ordinary school
would enter an apprenticeship; but, in fact, the majority did so. If
we abstract the two first groups, those about whom the particulars are
wanting, and those who have not yet left school, there remain
twenty-seven children, of whom seventeen have been apprenticed, or 76
per cent.

From these statements the following conclusion is reached--namely,
that, contrary to an opinion which attempts are being made to spread
abroad, the ordinary school does render real service to the defective
child. We have already seen, _à propos_ of the educational return,
that the ordinary school carries a proportion of the defectives as far
as the intermediate course. All these facts are mutually confirmatory.

Is it possible to go farther? We have just seen that the ordinary
school permits the occupational classing of 76 per cent. of the
defectives. Now, this proportion is, by an unexpected agreement,
identical with that obtained in the classes of Berlin and Brussels,
whence an opponent of special instruction would hasten to argue that
such instruction is useless, or that, at least, it could not prove
its usefulness except on the condition of insuring occupational
classing superior to 76 per cent. We do not think, after mature
reflection, that this proposition would be justified. All our figures
show is that the majority of defectives who pass through the ordinary
school had not entirely lost their time, since they reached the stage
of entering upon an apprenticeship. But it will not do to take account
only of the proportion of children classed as workers; it would be
necessary also to take account of the duration of such classing, and
especially of its quality. A defective enters upon an apprenticeship.
That is good, but how long does he retain it? Will he be discharged as
incapable at the end of a few months? If he is kept, will he remain in
the lowest employments--for example, unskilled labour? In connection
with all trades, there are minor occupations in which defectives
stagnate. Our figures do not take account of these differences, which
are of considerable interest, nor do they give any fuller ideas with
regard to the utilisation of the defectives. And it would be necessary
for the statistical method to be carried out with greater perfection
to enable us to measure the services rendered by special instruction.
It is probable that the special school would render greater services
than the ordinary school, because it has greater advantages: teachers
experienced in the training of defectives, a curriculum better fitted
to the aptitudes of the latter, and, most important of all, the
possibility of individual instruction.

Let us stop here. In the meantime this is all that we can say with
regard to the organisation and control of special education. If we
were to attempt to go farther we could do so only on _a priori_
grounds. The time has come for experiment. The new classes which are
being formed in Bordeaux, Paris, and elsewhere, must be carefully
watched. We shall grope, we shall make attempts, certainly we shall
commit mistakes, which will not matter very much if only we have the
mind to recognise them and the courage to put them right. The
essential thing is for all the world to understand that empiricism has
had its day, and that methods of scientific precision must be
introduced into all educational work, to carry everywhere good sense
and light.


[14] In trying to explain this success, one must, no doubt, take into
account the comparatively advanced age of the children, the probable
leniency of the examiners, and, above all, the fact that the
ill-balanced subject is a moral rather than a mental defective.


    [N.B.--Throughout the Appendix Roman numerals refer to
    ages--_e.g._, IV. 2 = second test for children of four years.]

Part of the interest of this work on defective children consists in
the fact that in it we find the origin of those ideas and
investigations which culminated in the formation of the Binet-Simon
Scale of Intelligence, now so widely known throughout Europe and

The ideal that Binet set before himself was the formation of a scale
which should measure intelligence in something the same way as the
foot-rule measures height. The first difficulty was the unit. If we
regard intelligence as the power to cope with a situation, we see that
this power in a general way increases with the experience of the
child, or, we may say, with his age. A child of nine should have more
intelligence than one of eight, a child of eight than a child of
seven, and so on. We may suppose, then, that there is a normal
intelligence for each age just as there is a normal height for each
age, although in the first case, as in the second, many children fall
below and many rise above the standard. It is clearly by no means so
easy to establish a norm for intelligence as for height, nevertheless,
the method should be the same; that is, we should begin by finding out
what the intelligence of children of different ages actually is, and
from these results we should derive averages which might be used as

In the course of his work with defectives, Binet, as we have seen,
had gathered a number of questions which he had found useful as tests
of intelligence. He now, in conjunction with Dr. Simon, proceeded to
extend the number of these tests and to assign each to its appropriate
age. The method he adopted was this: He tried each test on a great
number of normal children of the same age. If a large majority
answered satisfactorily, he set the test down as suitable for that
age; if a majority failed, he moved it to a more advanced age, and
tested it again on older children. When we consider his scale then, we
must remember that the arrangement is no arbitrary one, but has been
derived from actual experiment.

In 1908, after having been tried on over two hundred Parisian school
children, the tests were published in the form of a scale, giving a
measure of intelligence graded from three to thirteen years of age. By
this scale it was held a child's mental age, which, of course, was
often not the same as his chronological age, could be determined.

In 1911 there was published a revised scale in which, owing to the
results of further experiment and criticism, a considerable number of
alterations in the grading of the tests was made. This revised form of
the scale is given below. For convenience in use the _exact_ words to
be said to the child are placed first, the particular directions for
each test being given afterwards. General directions regarding the
tests and the method of marking will be found at the end of the scale.

Tests of Intelligence.

_Three Years._

1. "Show me your eyes." "Show me your nose." "Show me your mouth."

Count the child correct if he indicates in any way that he

2. "I am going to say two numbers. Say them after me--3, 7."--"Again,
6, 4."--"Again, 0, 5."

The examiner must say the figures slowly; an interval of half a second
should be allowed between the two. The child passes if he is
successful once out of the three trials.

3. "Here is a picture; tell me what you see."

The child passes at this level if he simply enumerates objects seen in
the pictures (Figs. 1, 2, 3).

4. "What is your name?"

For a pass the surname must be given, but if the child says his
Christian name only, the examiner may press him by asking "What else?"

5. "Say this sentence after me--'I am cold and hungry.'"

If the child is timid, he may be tried first with shorter sentences.
He is not allowed to pass unless his enunciation is perfect. A
sentence containing six syllables should be remembered at this level.

_Four Years._

1. "Are you a little boy or a little girl?"

If necessary, this question may be divided: "Are you a little boy?"
"Are you a little girl?"

2. "What is this?"--"And this?"--"And this?" The examiner shows the
child successively a key, a penny, and a knife.

3. "I am going to say three numbers. I want you to repeat them.
Listen. 2, 7, 5."--"Again, 9, 0, 4."--"Again, 3, 8, 1."

One success suffices.

4. "You see these lines. Tell me which is longer." See Fig. 7.

No hesitation or uncertainty is satisfactory.

_Five Years._

1. "You see these boxes. Tell me which is heavier."

The examiner places two boxes precisely the same in appearance, but
weighing respectively 3 grammes and 12 grammes, before the child. He
repeats the test with similar boxes, weighing respectively 6 and 15
grammes, and then the first pair is again presented. The boxes should
be arranged so that the heavier one is alternately at the right and at
the left side. Very young children nearly always indicate one of the
boxes by chance without testing them. In this case the examiner is
allowed to say, "You must take the boxes in your hand and weigh them."

2. "Copy this picture for me."

The examiner shows the child a card on which is drawn a square, the
side of which measures an inch and a half. The child is given pen and
ink, an unfamiliar instrument to him at this age. He passes if his
square can be recognised as a square.

3. "Listen to this, and repeat it after me: 'My name is Charlie. Oh!
the naughty dog!'"

Memory of a sentence containing ten syllables is required.

4. "You see these pennies. Now count them with your finger."

Four pennies are placed before the child. They are juxtaposed, but not
superposed. In order to pass, he must count them, touching each with
his forefinger as he says its number. Some little children begin to
count before they touch the first penny; thus they may reach five or
six or even more.

5. "Put these pieces together so as to make them look like this."

The examiner has two oblong cards--postcards do very well--one of
which is cut in two pieces along the diagonal. Before giving the
direction to the child, he places the intact card on the table, and,
nearer the child, the two pieces of the other card arranged so that
the two hypotenuses form a right angle.[A]

_Six Years._

1. "Is it morning or afternoon now?"

As many little children tend simply to repeat the examiner's last
words, it is better to reverse the terms "morning" and "afternoon"
when the examination takes place in the afternoon.

2. "What is a fork?"--What is a table?"--"A chair?"--"A horse?"--A

Three levels of intelligence may be distinguished in the responses.
The lowest is that of silence, or repetition of the term, or
designation by gesture. The second, which should be attained at the
age of six, is that of definition by use, as: "A fork is for eating
with." The third level is attained by the ninth year; the child at
this level attempts to describe the object or to say what it is made
of. The type of the majority of the definitions determines one's
judgment of the level attained.

3. "Copy this picture for me."

The examiner shows the child a card on which is drawn a diamond, of
which the side measures an inch and a half, and the acute angles 60
degrees. The drawing must be done with pen and ink.

4. "Count these pennies."

Thirteen pennies are placed on the table in a group (not in a line)
touching one another, but not superposed.

5. "Which is the prettier of these two faces?"--"And of these?"--"And
of these?"

See Fig. 4.

Three correct responses required.

_Seven Years._

1. "Show me your right hand."--"Show me your left ear."

2. "Here is a picture. Tell me what you see."

Description of picture required (Figs. 1, 2, 3.)

3. "Do you see this key? Go and put it on that chair. Then close the
door. Then take the box which is lying on the chair near the door and
bring it to me. First put the key on the chair, then close the door,
then bring me the box."

No help or suggestion by word or look must be given during the
execution of this task.

4. "How much money is there here altogether?"

Three pennies and three halfpennies are placed on the table before the

5. "What is this colour?"--"And this?"--"And this?"--"And this?"

The examiner shows the child successively the four colours--red,
yellow, blue, and green.

_Eight Years._

1. "You know a butterfly?"--"And you know a fly?"--"Are they like one
another?"--"Well, in what way are they not alike?"

The same questions are asked about wood and glass, and paper and
cardboard. Two comparisons at least must be given correctly.

2. "You can count, can't you?"--"Well, will you count for me backwards
from twenty to nothing? Begin 20, 19...."

One error is allowed, but the task must be finished in twenty seconds.

3. "What is missing in this picture?" The child must not be allowed to
see the figure in the diagram until he has answered the questions
regarding the heads. Otherwise, when shown a head, he may say, being
influenced by suggestion, "It has no body." See Fig. 5.

The same question is put for each of the four pictures.

4. "Can you tell me what day it is?"--"And will you tell me the date

The year must be given; three or four days' latitude is allowed in the
day of the month.

5. "I am going to say five numbers. Listen and repeat them after me.
5, 8, 2, 9, 1."--"Again, 3, 7, 5, 2, 0."--"Again, 1, 3, 7, 2, 9."

One success suffices.

_Nine Years._

1. "Would you like to play shop? You be shopkeeper. I will buy from
you this box. It costs twopence." Here the examiner hands the child a
shilling. "Now, will you give me change out of this money here?"

In order to give the change the child is provided with one of each of
our current coins--sovereign, half-sovereign, crown, half-crown,
florin, shilling, sixpence, threepence, penny, halfpenny--and in
addition five halfpence and six pennies.

_Note._--Binet gives the child a franc for an article valued at 20
sous, and the child has to select his change from the following coins:
8 coins of the value 0 fr. 05, 4 of the value 0 fr. 10, and 1 of each
of the others--viz., 0 fr. 25, 0 fr. 50, 1 fr., 2 fr., 5 fr., 10 fr.,
20 fr.

2. "What is a fork?"--"What is a table?"--"A chair?"--"A horse?"--"A

For a pass three at least of the definitions must be given in a form
superior to the "use" type.

3. "What is the name of this coin?"--"And of this?"--"And of this?"

The examiner in this way goes through in irregular order all our
current pieces of money. Coins like one another should not be shown in
immediate succession.

4. "Will you tell me the names of the months in order?"

One omission or one inversion is allowed to pass.

5. "What would you do if you missed a train?"--"What would you do if
one of your playmates should hit you without meaning to do so?"--"What
would you do if you broke something belonging to someone else?"

For a pass two at least of these questions must be answered sensibly.

_Ten Years._

1. "You see these little boxes. They are not all the same weight. Some
are heavy and some are light. Place the heaviest one here, and at its
side the one which is a little less heavy, then the one still a little
less, and finally the lightest of all."

The boxes in question weigh respectively 6, 9, 12, 15, and 18 grammes,
and all look the same. They are placed in a pile before the child, and
as the examiner gives the directions he indicates with his finger the
place he appoints for each box. Three trials should be given, the
boxes being mixed after each trial. In order to pass the child must be
correct at least twice. The time should not exceed three minutes. The
material for the test can be easily made from match-boxes.

2. "Now I am going to show you two drawings. You may look at them for
ten seconds, which is a very short time. Then I will ask you to draw
them from memory."

For the drawings see Fig. 6. The child is counted correct if he
reproduces the whole of one drawing and half the other.

3. "I am going to read you some sentences, each of which contains
something foolish. Listen attentively and tell me each time what is

The examiner reads the sentences impressively, but without any special
emphasis on the part the child should comment on. Each time when he
finishes he changes his tone, and demands, "What is foolish in that?"

    _Sentences._--(1) An unfortunate bicycle rider fell on his head
    and was killed instantly; he was taken to a hospital, and they
    fear he will not recover.

    (2) I have three brothers, Paul, Ernest, and myself.

    (3) The body of an unfortunate young girl, cut into eighteen
    pieces, was found yesterday on the fortifications. It is thought
    that she killed herself.

    (4) There was a railway accident yesterday, but it was not a bad
    one; the number of dead is only forty-eight.

    (5) Someone said If I should ever grow desperate and kill
    myself, I will not choose Friday, because Friday is an unlucky
    day, and will bring me unhappiness.

Three satisfactory answers are required.

4. "What would you do if you were delayed in going to school?"--"What
would you do before taking part in an important affair?"--"Why is a
bad action done when one is angry more excusable than the same action
done when one is not angry?"--"What would you do if you were asked
your opinion of someone whom you did not know well?"--"Why should one
judge a person by his acts rather than by his words?"

Three sensible answers must be given.

5. "I am going to read you three words, and I want you to make a
sentence and use in it the three words. The words are Paris, fortune,

The expression "make a sentence" must not be further explained, but
the instructions may be repeated. The child is given a pencil and
paper, and, if necessary, should be urged to write something. For a
pass the sentence should be well co-ordinated. At this stage it may
contain two distinct ideas, but not three; at the higher level it must
contain only one idea (see XII. 2). One minute is the time allowed for

_Twelve Years._

1. "Which is the longer of these two lines?"--"And of those?"--"And of
those?"--"And of those?"--"And of those?"--"And of those?"

This test is aimed at the suggestibility of the child. For the
material see Figs. 8-13. The first three pairs of lines differ in
length, the longer being at the right hand; the last three pairs are
equal. It is sufficient if the child correctly judges two of the last
three pairs to be equal.

2. "I am going to read you three words. I want you to make a sentence
and use in it the three words. The words are Paris, fortune, stream."

For directions see XI. 5.

3. "I am going to allow you three minutes, and I want you to say as
many words as you can think of. Some children have said more than two
hundred. Let us see how many you can do. Ready? Start."

In order to pass the child must say over sixty words.

4. "What is Charity?"--"What is Justice?"--"What is Kindness?"

Two correct responses are required.

5. "Put these words in their proper order and find the sentence which
they make."

Three cards are successively presented to the child, on each of which
is very clearly written or printed one of the following sets of words
arranged in three lines.

(1) For--an--the--at--hour--early--we--country--started.

(2) To--asked--exercise--my--I--teacher--correct--my.

(3) A--defends--dog--good--his--master--bravely.

One minute is allowed for each sentence, and two correct answers are

_Fifteen Years._

1. "I am going to say seven numbers to you, and I want you to repeat
them after me. Now, 5, 2, 7, 9, 1, 6, 0."--"Again, 6, 4, 1, 3, 9, 7,
5."--"Again, 8, 0, 4, 2, 7, 3, 6."

One success suffices.

2. "Do you know the meaning of the word 'rhyme'? Two words are said to
rhyme when they have similar endings, such as hour and flower, or
candy and dandy. Do you understand? Now, find all the words which
rhyme with day."

The child is required to find three rhymes in one minute.

3. "I am going to say some sentences to you, and I want you to repeat
them exactly after me. Ready? 'The other day I saw on the street a
pretty yellow dog. Little Maurice has stained his nice new apron.'"

The examiner is advised to have ready a series of sentences formed of
words easy to understand. He should begin with one somewhat shorter
than that suggested, which consists of twenty-six syllables--the
length required by Binet at this age.

4. "Here is a picture. Tell me what you see."

At this level interpretation of the picture is required. Mere
description of the activities represented is not sufficient.

5. "Listen to what I am going to read to you: A woman was walking
through a park in Chicago. Suddenly she stopped, dreadfully
frightened. She ran to the nearest policeman and told him she had seen
hanging to the limb of a tree"--after a pause--"a what?"

"Again: My neighbour has just received some singular visitors: one
after another a doctor, a lawyer, and a priest called. What is
happening at my neighbour's?"

Both problems must be solved satisfactorily.


1. "Here is a paper folded in four. Suppose that here" (pointing to a
small triangle that has been drawn in the middle of the edge which
presents a single fold) "I cut out this little triangle. Now, if I
unfold the paper, how would it look? Draw the paper as, it would
appear if unfolded and show how and where it would be cut."

The paper is square to begin with, and is folded twice so as to show a
square one quarter of the original size. The required drawing will
show two diamonds drawn in line with each other, and each in the
centre of one half of a square.

2. "Look at this card. Suppose I lift this lower part and place this
edge (tracing the edge _A C_ with the finger) on this edge (the
diagonal of the upper piece). Suppose also that this point (_C_) is
placed just on this point (_B_). Now I will take away the piece, and
do you draw the whole figure as it will appear when the proposed
change is made. Begin by drawing the upper part."


A right angle must be represented at _B_, and the edge _A C_ be shown
shorter than the edge _A B_.

3. "What is the difference between laziness and idleness?"--What is
the difference between event and advent?"--"What is the difference
between evolution and revolution?"

Two correct answers required.

4. "There are three principal differences between a King and a
President of a Republic. What are they?"

Required answer: Royalty is hereditary, the tenure of office is for
life, and its powers are very great; the President is elected, his
tenure of office is for a limited time, and his powers are less

5. "Listen to what I am going to read to you. When I have finished I
shall ask you to give me the sense of the passage: 'Many opinions have
been given on the value of life. Some call it good, others call it
bad. It would be more just to say that it is mediocre, for on the one
hand our happiness is never so great as we would have it, and on the
other hand our misfortunes are never so great as others would have
them. It is this mediocrity of life which makes it just, or rather
which prevents it from being radically unjust.'"

=Directions to Examiners.=--In the use of the Binet scale there are
various pitfalls that await the beginner. In the first place he is
almost certain to array himself on the side of the child and to
declare in some instances that the test is not a fair one--the child
could have passed had he understood what was wanted. One frequently
sees this attitude towards the puzzle test. (V. 5.) For example, the
examiner is dissatisfied when the child simply moves the pieces of
card about in a meaningless way, and he tries to explain more clearly
what is wanted. I have seen one examiner go so far as to show the
child the solution, and then give him a pass when he repeated it. The
examiner must always remember that a child who has reached the
required level of intelligence will himself see what is wanted. This
comprehension is indeed the very thing we are testing for.

Secondly, the examiner is apt to show by his manner when he is
dissatisfied with a child's answer. In some cases this may lead him to
correct himself--_e.g._, VII. 1. The examiner must bear constantly in
mind that _all answers are equally pleasing to him_; he is not there
to instruct the child, but to test him. When meaningless or absurd
responses are given, as they frequently are, the examiner must accept
them cheerfully, even in some cases with praise, and record a failure.
The record, of course, must never be visible to the child.

Again, the examiner must not suppose that the scale can be applied
mechanically. Both experience and judgment are necessary before the
results can be correctly gauged. In certain tests--_e.g._, the
absurdities--a child's manner tells as much as his words. The children
on whom I have tried this test nearly always laughed when they really
grasped the point. Before he lays much stress on his results an
examiner should have tested at least twenty children.

There is another factor which prevents any mechanical use of the scale
leading to satisfactory results, and that is the variability of the
child's responsiveness. With an unsympathetic examiner, or with an
unfortunate start, he will do himself less than justice. It is the
business of the examiner to keep the child in that state of mental
exhilaration which enables him to do his best. Words of encouragement
and praise should in some cases be freely used, but, of course, care
must always be taken to avoid, whether in word, tone, gesture, or
facial expression, the slightest suggestion of the correct solution.
The happy state of mind must be secured at the very beginning, and for
this purpose the choice of the first test is very important. I call to
mind a bright child of eight who was confronted first with a simple
puzzle test. For some reason, probably over-anxiety to do well, she
did not see the solution, and being too intelligent not to perceive
her own failure, she burst into tears. Such unfortunate accidents are,
however, rare. The children usually enjoy the interview.

To secure a good start one must begin with a test which the child will
regard as easy and pleasant. One soon knows almost at sight of the
child what it is best to try first. One usually begins with tests for
an age at least a year younger than that of the little subject, and
works upward.

The examiner should be alone with the child except for the presence of
someone whose business it is to make notes. In such tests as the
description of a picture, the definition tests, the questions of
everyday life, the child's full answers should be written down. The
examiner should, however, record his own judgment as to whether the
child has passed or failed _at once_, as there are various factors
which tend to make an immediate judgment both more certain and more
accurate than a delayed one.

So far as the actual testing is concerned, the examiner should confine
himself to the words given in the text. He will find himself tempted
sometimes "to draw the child out." For instance, in the picture test,
when the child has given him a brief enumeration of objects and then
stopped, he will find himself saying, "But what is this man doing?"
The child can probably tell; but he must not on this account be
accorded a pass on the descriptive level; he has already shown that
his level is that of simple enumeration.

Some of the tests (definitions, comparisons, suggestion) bring out a
tendency to automatism which is present in many children. Thus, a
child having replied correctly that a butterfly is bigger than a fly,
may go on to state that wood is bigger than glass, and paper than
cardboard; or having found that "It is a fork" is well received as a
definition of that implement, he may give similar replies to the other
queries in the definition test. This automatism should not be checked:
it should be recorded. The more intelligent children begin to exhibit
a certain dissatisfaction with their own answers, however readily they
are accepted.

It is not always easy to follow the working of the childish mind, and
it is not usually advisable to press for further explanation. Such a
course is apt to puzzle the child, and render the conditions less
favourable. If you are not certain that he should be allowed to pass,
you may be practically certain that he should not. Sometimes one gets
interesting glimpses into the subject's mentality. A little boy once
told me he had never seen a butterfly. Nevertheless, I asked the
comparison question, and he gave what is a very usual answer: "A
butterfly is bigger than a fly." "How do you know," I said, "if you
have never seen a butterfly?" "It's a bigger word," he replied.
Another time a little girl, who also declared she had never seen a
butterfly, gave another answer which is also very common: "A butterfly
is yellow, and a fly is black." The source of this knowledge was not
discovered; but one of my students told me later that a child whom she
questioned about a butterfly said: "I have seen one; it was blue, but
it _ought_ to have been yellow." On being asked why, she responded:
"Butter is yellow." The test, of course, is not for the knowledge of
the things, but for the power of making a comparison. Occasionally one
has to mark a child as doubtful. Thus, in defining abstract terms
(XII. 4) Binet records that out of forty-five nine-year-old children,
four passed, thirty-six failed, and five were doubtful. This test,
however, gives an unusually large percentage of doubtfuls.

=Method of Marking.=--The examiner should have a large sheet of paper
or a note-book with the names of the tests written in column at the
left-hand side. Opposite each in a second column he should enter a
sign indicating his judgment. Binet recommends the use of the
following signs: + ! excellent, + pass, + ? almost a pass, ? doubtful,
0 silence,-- ? almost a failure, -- a failure, -- ! a bad failure.
Later this record should be supplemented from the notes taken by the
secretary, also by information regarding the child's personal history,
and by comments on his behaviour during the examination. The mental
age assigned to him is determined in this way: one finds the age-level
at which he passes all the tests, and adds a year for every five tests
that he passes above that level. Thus, if a child of seven passes all
the tests for seven years, three of those for eight, and two of those
for nine, he has a mental age of eight years. Binet allows the use of
fractions, one-fifth of a year for every test passed, but he admits
that this gives an appearance of a degree of exactitude which is
probably not attained. Should a child's mental age show a retardation
of three years as compared with his chronological age, and should
there be no evident explanation of this, such as ill-health, neglect
of school attendance, etc., he is reckoned as deficient mentally.

Binet's scale has been criticised from various points of view.
Generally speaking, it seems to be found too easy at the lower end and
too difficult at the higher end. It seems certain that some of the
tests have not yet found their proper level, or, indeed, that the
proper level may vary from country to country, from school to school,
and from one social rank to another. Thus, the writer has found that
practically all the five-year-old children present in a certain school
during the past two or three years are able to pass the colour test
assigned by Binet to seven years of age. These children, however,
probably belong to a higher social class than the five-year-olds
tested by Binet. An examiner very quickly learns which of the tests
beyond his age it is advisable to put to the particular child he is
dealing with, and owing to the method of marking it does not matter
much if one or two tests are misplaced with reference to a particular
group of children. The important thing is that there is a general
consensus of opinion on the part of those who have tried the scale as
to its value as a mental probe and register of mental attainment.
Revisions and elaborations of it have already been published,[B] but
in view of its simplicity and brevity, and the valuable analytical
work of which it has proved itself capable, the 1911 form will
probably remain a standard for at least some years to come.

For the complete series of tests the examiner will require the
following material in addition to the diagrams:

Three suitable pictures.

Key, penny, knife. IV. 2.

Weights. V. 1 and X. 1.

Drawing of square. V. 2.

Drawing of diamond. VI. 3.

Rectangular card and divided rectangle. V. 5 and Adult, 2.

Colours. VII. 5.

Cards with mixed sentences. XII. 5.

Square of paper. Adult, 1.


[A] The directions for this test, given in 1908, are to arrange the
two triangles so that the _hypotenuses are as far distant as possible
from one another_. In the 1911 article the directions are as above. It
seems to the writer that both directions are ambiguous. In certain
experiments in which she followed the 1908 directions she placed the
triangles thus [Illustration: oblique triangle point up, oblique
triangle point down], so that the children had to lift one across the
other to effect a solution. A very small percentage of five-year-old
children succeeded. If the triangles are placed thus [Illustration:
oblique triangle point up, oblique triangle long side down] the task
would probably be easier.

[B] See _Journal of Educational Psychology_, 1912: "A Tentative
Revision and Extension of the Binet-Simon Measuring Scale of
Intelligence," by Terman and Child. For an excellent brief review of
the experimental work which has been done with the tests, see the same
volume, pp. 101-110. The 1911 scale, with detailed instructions for
the application of each test, appeared in the _Bulletin de la Société
Libre pour l'Étude Psychologique de l'Enfant_, Nos. 70 and 71, April,
1911. This article has been translated by Clara Harrison Town
(_Chicago Medical Press_). See also Meumann, _Vorlesungen Z.
Einführung in die experimentelle Pädagogik_, Leipzig, 1913.


For the picture tests Binet used the following:

Fig. 1. Man and boy pulling a barrow with furniture.

Fig. 2. A poor old man and a young woman sitting on a seat outside on
a wintry day.

Fig. 3. A prisoner standing on his bed to look out of the window of
his cell.

The student should choose pictures which contain familiar figures and
objects, and which "tell a story" capable of sympathetic
interpretation. They should not be too childish.

The following pictures, all in the Tate Gallery, may be suggested:

  The Doctor, by Luke Fildes.
  The Blind Beggar, by J.L. Dyckmans.
  The Wedding, by Stanhope A. Forbes.
  A Hopeless Dawn, by Frank Bramley.
  The Man with the Scythe, by H.H. La Thangue.

Mark the pictures chosen Figs. 1, 2, and 3.

[Illustration: FIG. 4.]

[Illustration: FIG. 5.]

[Illustration: FIG. 6.]

[Illustration: FIG. 7.]

[Illustration: FIG. 8.]

[Illustration: FIG. 9.]

[Illustration: FIG. 10.]

[Illustration: FIG. 11.]

[Illustration: FIG. 12.]

[Illustration: FIG. 13.]


  Abnormal children, 5

  Abnormality, frontiers of, 92

  Adenoids, 110

  Alcohol, 102

  Appendix, 146

  Aptitudes, 23 _et seq._

  Arithmetic, 58

  Asylum cases, 74

  Attendance, irregular, 50

  Bicêtre, 6, 123

  Bromides, 106

  Cretin, 104

  Curriculum, 14, 26, 32, 131

    _abnormal_, 5
    _defective_, 7
    _feeble-minded_, 78
    _idiot_, 77
    _ill-balanced_, 6
    _imbecile_, 77

  Distribution of defectives, 15, 43

  Doctor, rôle of, 88 _et seq._

  Dunces, 47

  Employment, 126, 129, 134

  Epilepsy, 7, 107

    _pedagogical_, 36, 65
    _physical_, 91
    _psychological_, 67

  Feeble-minded, 78

  Frontiers of abnormality, 92

  Heredity, 99, 102

  Hospital cases, 74

  Hydrocephalus, 103

  Hydrotherapy, 106

  Hysteria, 110

  Ill-balanced, 6, 8, 15, 21, 72, 138

  Inspector, rôle of, 50 _et seq._

    _scale of_, 54
    _tests of_, 52

  Intelligence, tests of, 28, 67, App.

  Knowledge percentage, 64

  Laboratory of pedagogy, 9, 27

  Medical examination, 91 (Chap. IV.)

  Medical schedule, 115

  Mental deficiency, _v._ Definitions

  Microcephalus, 103

  Microgyria, 103

  Mongol, 105

  Moral deficiency, _v._ Ill-balanced

  Pedagogical examination, 36, 65

  Physical examination, 91

  Physiognomy, 95

  Picture tests, 30

  Psychological examination, 67
    utility of, 71

  Psychology of defective, 19
    of ill-balanced, 21

  Reading, 55

  Retardation, 16, 38

  Salpêtrière, 6, 120

  Scale of instruction, 54

    _instruction_, 65
    _medical_, 115
    _suspected mental deficiency_, 85

  School, special, 7
    _educational value_, 118, 136
    _social value_, 118, 140

  Spelling, 61

  Statistics, 7

  Stigmata, 93

  Teacher, rôle of, 38 _et seq._

    _instruction_, 52
    _intelligence_, 28, 67, 148
    _marking of_, 162
    _material for_, 164
    _method of conducting_, 159

  Unstable, _v._ Ill-balanced.


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