A significant change in the educational climate of our country during the past ten years is the growing preoccupation with the handicapped or exceptional child. Public school leaders have engaged in extensive research and effort to provide specialized education for these children. We are hopeful of facilitating the social adjustment of most of these children and developing their full economic potential.
Out of more than 4 million children born annually in the United States, three per cent, or approximately 120,000, show signs of mental deficiency. The recent trend is to hospitalize only the most severe and inadequate cases, and to encourage families to care for their own children as long as possible. This statistical prediction therefore inescapably faces every facet of society in nearly every community of our land.
Sooner or later the Church is bound to be confronted with her responsibilities for these children and will be asked to relieve some of the sorrow and despair attending a handicapped child. For the Church this challenge is not simply an educational matter; it is also a matter of conscience.
Some may well ask, do church schools have to receive the mentally retarded, with all the costly special teaching facilities they require? And will the expensive effort accomplish any real and lasting spiritual good that can be related to the total gospel outreach?
At first glance, a lot of well-meaning folk will shout “yes.” However, a happy affirmative does not effect a solution to the most difficult and trying problems which education of this type imposes upon the church school and those concerned with its management. Nor will it enlighten those uninformed communicants in the church body who believe all such handicapping is “the ...1
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