Hints from the Health Department. Leaflet from the archive of the Society of Medical Officers of Health. Credit: Wellcome Collection, London
[Report of the Medical Officer of Health for London County Council]
184 Annual Report of the London County Council, 1912.
During the year three new schools, one for the mentally defective and two for myopes, have
been opened ; none have been closed. The number of special schools with a total average roll of about
Schools for the mentally defective (M.D.) 92
„ „ physically defective (P.D.) 35
„ „ deaf (D.) 10
„ „ partially deaf (hard of hearing) 1
„ „ blind (B.) 8
myopic (My.) 3
The medical examinations of children with a view to admission to special schools have been carried out as in previous years; 8,432 children have been seen and deemed suitable for the following educational treatment.
|M.D.||M.D. and P.D.||P.D.||Blind.||Blind and Deaf.||Blind and M.D.||Myopes.||Deaf.||Deaf and M.D.||Partially deaf.||Industrial schools||Elementary school.||Imbecile.||Invalids||Total.|
* Some of the hard of hearing and myopes in this table are also included under "Elementary School" or
"Invalids," and others were seen on more than one occasion during the year.
The special schools were visited at least once a quarter and every child present was seen at least
once during the year. Whenever possible three days' notice of the intended visit of the medical officer
was given to the head teacher, who in the cases of the mentally defective and physically defective schools
was requested to present for examination all children included in the following categories:—
(a) Those who had been admitted to the school during the preceding three months.
(b) Those who had not been seen for nine months.
(c) Those who were applying for exemption or Were approaching the age of 14 years.
(d) Those whom it was considered desirable to place before the doctor.
(e) Those who had attained the age of 10 years 9 months since the last visit.
The total number of medical examinations made during the year was 14,652. The following table shows the recommendations made as regards re-classification in the case of scholars attending the schools for the mentally and physically defective.
|Elementary school.||Blind.||Deaf.||Physically Defective to Mentally Defective.||Mentally Defective to Physically Defective.||Excluded as Imbecile.||Invalids.||Exemption recommended.||Not suitable for||Suitable for|
|Elder boys.||Elder girls.||Elder boys.||Elder girls.|
The children in these schools present grades of defect with no hard and fast lines of separation,
varying from those who, after a period of special instruction under the more favourable conditions
in the way of smaller classes and simpler methods of teaching, are able to return to the lower standards
of the ordinary elementary school, to those who, after a prolonged trial, are found incapable of benefiting
from any instruction that can be given in the classes of a day school. Generally speaking, however,
two main classes can be distinguished; those whose general intelligence in out-of-school matters is
relatively little behind that of the weaker members of the ordinary school class, but whose faculties,
so far as the academic requirements of reading, writing, or calculation are concerned, remain in a
dormant or larval condition ; and those who are many years behind their normal fellows in all intellectual
manifestations. The former under the stimulating influence of the special trade schools for elder
children often develop fresh aptitudes and are able, on leaving, to take up profitable employment.
The latter class make very slow progress both in the junior and senior schools, contribute largely to
the flotsam and jetsam of the population, and in their later school years are often a source of trouble
to their parents, neighbours, attendance officers and the police. With a view to the differentiation of
these classes special attention has been paid to the psychological as well as the medical examination
of the children. Experiments have been made and reported on by the medical officers concerned in
this work in the course of which all types of graded diagnosis have been tested. It is necessary from
time to time to make some variation in the methods employed since the children become, to some
extent, familiar with the tests utilised, and occasionally the experiments made by those teachers,
who have attended courses in and paid special attention to psychological methods, reveal themselves
during the routine examination by unexpectedly rapid responses of the children. Dr. Argles has adopted
objective methods following the lines of Dr. Weygandt. He employs pictures, toys, form boards and
simple utensils which attract the attention of the children and banish the shyness and restraint which