Man, unlike animals lower in the phyletic scale, protects the maimed and crippled organism. In this age of humanitarian reform, the conscience of society demands humane care as well as a sharper focus of scientific technology on the inadequate member and the problem of adaptation. The scientific study of the inadequate human is a recent innovation in history. Genetics has given insight into seemingly complex phenomena. Medical science has made remarkable progress in freeing mankind from many afflictions. However, some conditions have been resistant to scientific advance. Cerebral palsy, epilepsy, the choreas, psychosis, alcoholism, and mental deficiency are examples which have behavioral involvement. Preventive measures have reduced the incidence of some. In the main, attempts at remediation have met with little success.
For the conditions in which man's commerce with his environment is inadequate, the onus for care and remediation falls, in large part, on the behavioral sciences. This is particularly true for the mental afflictions. Of these, mental deficiency, perhaps, has received less attention. From a humane standpoint, care and treatment of the defective have improved. Social agencies are more sensitive to the needs of the defective living in the community. Institutional care has become better, although it still falls far below society's aspirations. Both innovations have made serious demands upon the economy as well as upon professional and scientific talent. The methods and techniques of care and training have changed little since the turn of the century. Pedagogical procedures, vocational training regimens, psychological treatments, and social and self-help training are largely those employed with the normal individual or with some other clinical population.