Too long has the treatment of the defectively developed mind been postponed beyond the age of infancy, and often are individuals thus affected relegated to the hopelessly idiotic group, without a careful study of the possibilities of each. The very poverty of our knowledge of the subject challenges study and investigation. The great variations in degree make it difficult to recognize in early childhood the mildest forms, and the worst cases are so bad that they offer no encouragement to treatment. The cases that require the greatest attention are those in which we can hope to rescue the individual from the class of useless idiots, and by intelligent education place him as an humble member of the productive classes.
The etiology of idiocy has always been a source of speculation. Most lay people and many medical men fall into the habit of concentrating their attention too much on the size