Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 78.djvu/300

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norms indicative of what the children of each mental age are capable of doing. Each individual is then assigned daily lessons and duties according to the norm for his mental age. The work has not yet been carried far enough to fix final norms, but the very introduction of the principle of seeking such adaptation has had a most wonderful effect on the institution. Thus, a boy who has had eighteen birthdays and is of normal size enters the institution as a helpless dependent; he is tested under the direction of the psychologist and is found to be mentally of the calibre of an eight-year-old and is therefore classified with the group of that age. The norm shows that a lad of eighteen but mentally developed only to the age of eight, and with slight, if any, prospects for further development, can not read, nor write nor figure serviceably, but he can feed himself, make his bed, fold his napkin, keep himself clean, help a crippled brother, lead a horse, carry water, pitch hay, hoe the garden, toss a ball, do small errands, etc. (the items specified are fictitious). He cares little for play, but is an automaton, glad and effective in repeating the same simple tasks. His program for each day is therefore mapped out according to the norm showing the upper limit of what he can do. The result is that he is busy all day, industrious and useful and therefore happy and good. The secret of it all is that he has found his level and is allowed to live on it. His ambition is realized and he is proud and grateful for what he can do. He is an illustration of scientific adjustment. Compare this boy with his equal in the ordinary institution for the feeble-minded where he is detained as an inmate out of adjustment, irritated by the things he can not do. Adjustment transforms an institution of detention into a house of happiness and usefulness; and, instead of being expensive, it makes the institution more nearly self-supporting, for every individual is assigned to the place of his greatest efficiency.

In conclusion, let me sum up this all too brief appeal. Applied psychology can not always live by the crumbs that fall from the professor's table, nor can it get its full vitality from the non-psychological professions. It must be fostered by the specialist who devotes himself to it for its own sake. It must recognize itself, its own peculiar technique, its vastly varied fields, its diversities, its stupendous difficulties, its essential limitations, and withal its promise and worth.