In June, 1954, when 86 persons met to study the exceptional child, they were determined collectively to find out as much as possible about this tremendously important subject. Because they had exceptional children in their own families or classrooms, the problems in this field were real to them. The writer felt fortunate to be director of the group, and he has prepared this Guide as a result of their inspiration and encouragement.
In undertaking and pursuing the subject of exceptional children, the group used the Workshop methods of learning, which have since been given wide publicity and recognition through their use at the 1955 White House Conference on Education.
While many now recognize the value of these Workshop methods, few feel capable of following the detailed outlines and suggestions of Kelley, Diederich and Van Til, and others who have written about them. This Guide is aimed toward helping in the structuring of a Workshop, and toward aiding the participants who have neither the time nor the inclination to undertake a formal and lengthy study of the methods.
This Guide is also intended to assist other groups, small or large, who realize the importance of knowing more about, and doing more for, the exceptional children in our schools, homes, and communities.
Among the groups studying exceptional children who will find some or all of the Guide useful are the following:
Parent and parent-teacher groups
College classes (graduate and undergraduate)
Teachers' in-service training programs
Organizations directly concerned with one or more types of exceptional children
Organizations indirectly concerned with, but temporarily involved in, the problem
The Guide has been so organized that it can be used by groups with limited time for their study, as well as by others with long-range programs. All may use parts of it, -- adapting, adding to, eliminating and changing sections to meet their own individual purposes. None will necessarily be able to use every section. The aim has been to keep the materials flexible, so that every group will find it adaptable to its particular interests.
Because it is a Guide, rather than a textbook, no pretense exists that the contents are all-inclusive, or in mutually exclusive units. Rather, just as persons 'overlap' in their characteristics and potentialities, so also do the children to be known and understood through the use of this Guide.
For detailed information on each of the various areas here discussed, except the bi-lingual, the user is referred to the three volumes, Special Education for the Exceptional, edited byMerle E. Frampton andElena D. Gall , published in 1955 and 1956 by Porter Sargent, Boston.