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The Institute for Human Adjustment is a manifestation of the desire of the University to encourage research in the social, psychological, and physiological mechanisms of behavior, and to improve and extend its program of research and training in the field of special education. In the Institute facilities are established for the furtherance of this broader program. Through the gift of $1,000,000 to the University of Michigan by Mrs. Mary A. Rackham and special grants for buildings and equipment from the Horace H. Rackham and Mary A. Rackham Fund, the Institute was established in 1937 (P.R. 1936-39, p. 224). These funds, which are a part of the endowment of the Rackham Graduate School, have been designated for use in teacher training, research, and service in the entire area of personal adjustment.

Upon its establishment the Institute for Human Adjustment acquired two existing units, the Speech Clinic and the Psychological Clinic, which had been operating in this area and which were to be coordinated and expanded in accordance with the program. In 1938 the Sociological Research Unit was created and placed within the Institute, as was also the newly established Fenton Community Center. Clark Tibbitts (Lewis Institute '24) was made Director of the Institute in 1938 and was also appointed Lecturer in Sociology.

The Institute was thus composed of distinct but coordinated units working in close co-operation with related departments of the University, particularly in the physical, biological, psychological, and social sciences, and with other specialized agencies in the community. To some extent each unit was regarded as an extension of the courses of study, which were being developed.

The Institute for Human Adjustment is designed to serve normal, as well as physically handicapped and mentally maladjusted persons, so that they may be free to develop to the limit of their individual potentialities. The primary aims of the Ann Arbor units are identical: teacher training, research, and service. Teachers and specialists are trained for ordinary work in speech improvement and psychological examining in schools, courts, and child-welfare agencies, and for the more difficult tasks of diagnosis, research, and teacher training in other institutions.

The research program is designed to portray certain aspects of human behavior, particularly as they present problems of social adjustment. In the Speech Clinic research contributes to a better understanding of the processes of speech and speech disorders and provides the basis for more adequate programs of diagnosis, treatment, and retraining. Research in the Psychological Clinic throws light on the growth and development of mentality and personality in different types of homes and communities, offers reasons for school failures and methods of helping those who are failing, and examines the psychological and bio-psychological differences among psychotic groups in hospitals for the mentally diseased.

Service is given directly through individual examinations, diagnosis, and treatment, and indirectly through education of parents, physicians, teachers, social workers, and visiting or school nurses. Efforts are made to point out to these groups needs or defects of which they are unaware, the consequences of neglecting them, and the desirability of providing guidance or correction at an age when the individual can receive the greatest benefit.

Specific problems dealt with by the Psychological Clinic are vocational guidance, reading difficulties, adjustment of superior children, search for the causes of behavior problems including delinquency, methods of determining the capabilities and intelligence of children who are considered for adoption, and personality adjustment in the family. Clients come to the clinic as self-referrals and from the Michigan Child Guidance Institute, the University Health Service, the Michigan Children's Aid Society, the Speech Clinic, the Ann Arbor public schools, and elsewhere. In addition to the exhaustive individual examinations given in the clinic, group testing and individual examinations are given in the schools of Ann Arbor and neighboring communities, and in the Ypsilanti State Hospital.

The Speech Clinic directs its attention to individuals with deviations from normal speech patterns, such as stuttering and poor articulation, and to those handicapped by cleft palates, spastic disorders, and aphasia. It conducts tests of hearing and teaches speech reading and conversation, in order that even those with serious hearing losses may learn to communicate with normal people. In addition to the work in Ann Arbor, the clinic makes surveys of speech and hearing in the schools, supplementing its findings by social and school histories, and by mental and dental examinations of those children who have deviations. Such surveys call the attention of the school personnel and the family to the existence of problems, which can be corrected before they have serious consequences. The surveys are frequently followed by a program of speech correction, which gives excellent opportunity for teachers in training to gain experience.

The directing staffs of the clinics are restricted almost entirely to members of the University faculty. Graduate and undergraduate students conduct examinations consistent with the level reached in their classroom work, and they do part of the retraining in the Speech Clinic. Their clinical work is supervised and reviewed by the members of the senior staff and is an important part of their training. Through the service programs the staff members are able to collect the information fundamental to research. The contributions of the clinics are derived largely from the successful integration of the three-fold purpose upon which their operation is based.

The Sociological Research Project is devoted to study of the problems of youth in Flint. The main emphasis is placed on demonstration in vocational guidance. The program calls for intensive study and guidance of a selected group of high-school students. The interests, aptitudes, and personal characteristics of each member of this group are ascertained through the use of aptitude tests, interest inventories, personality schedules, case-history records, and school-achievement and work records. An intensive vocational program offered in conjunction with the schools includes explanation of the significance of tests, counseling, courses in vocational subjects, and discussions with individuals engaged in various occupational fields. A coordinated effort is made by the guidance project, the school placement service, and the junior employment office to find work opportunity in the field of preparation. The program is conducted by a staff assembled for the purpose, with the assistance of the staff of the Flint Guidance Center and of selected principals and teachers in the schools. Like the Ann Arbor units, the Flint Sociological Research Project has been a means of giving University students actual field experience in psychological examining and in social research.

Clark Tibbitts


Proceedings of the Board of Regents …, 1937-40.

President's Report, Univ. Mich., 1937-40.

Horace H. Rackham and Mary A. Rackham Fund, Detroit and Ann Arbor, 1934-1940. Ed. by Frances H. Miner. Ann Arbor: Published by the Trustees, 1940.

Speech Clinic

The Speech Clinic opened officially in June 1937, as a unit of the Institute for Human Adjustment and of the Department of Speech. Since 1937, although the clinic has been a part of the Institute, it has still continued to operate in close association with the Department of Speech.

Remedial help in speech had been carried on at the University since 1906-7. Upon the resignation of Professor Hempl the course in general linguistics was taught by Professor Clarence L. Meader, and the philological basis of the work was expanded to include the biological processes of language. In 1909-10 Professors Walter B. Pillsbury and Meader organized a course in the psychology of language, which has been given almost every year. Two years later Professors Meader and John F. Shepard co-operated in organizing a course in experimental phonetics.

Professors Muyskens and Meader offered Practical Phonetics in 1922. This was a course in the application of experimental phonetics to the problem of language development. In 1923 Professor Meader added a seminar in semantics especially for those students who were interested in the developmental processes. With the aid of the Department of Speech, graduate students, who later opened clinics at Grace Hospital, Detroit, and elsewhere, undertook special problems in the field.

In 1927, because of a continued demand by teachers of speech and speech correction and especially by teachers of English, an explanatory phrase, "to correct minor speech defects," was added to the course listings in phonetics. John H. Muyskens ('13, Sc.D. '25), Associate Professor of Phonetics and Director of the Laboratory of Speech and General Linguistics, who had alternately taught and done graduate work in human biology from 1912 until 1920, had charge of the general program of the clinic from 1927 to 1938.

To meet the increasing demands upon the time and the efforts of the General Linguistics staff and upon members of the Department of Speech, a plan was finally realized in the establishment of the Speech Clinic of the Institute for Human Adjustment.

The clinic was established in recognition of a need to bring remedial help to children and to adults suffering from various types of defective speech. The present housing of the Speech Clinic and the endowment for staff and equipment have permitted a scope of work not hitherto possible. The main purposes of the Speech Clinic are three-fold: teacher training, research, and service. In addition to these official purposes, the clinic also recognizes a responsibility for the dissemination of knowledge regarding the hygiene of speech development, so that serious speech defects may be anticipated and prevented.

The training of teachers and specialists at the clinic is accomplished through formal course work and through a clinical internship, which provides practical experience in the examination, diagnosis, and treatment of speech disorders. The clinic has recognized the need for training teachers of speech correction for different grade levels, and for different levels of specialization, ranging from the grade school teacher who needs some information regarding speech correction, to the specialist who expects to work as a clinician, instructor, or research investigator in institutions of higher learning.

The work of research has involved background studies in speech and language development and the investigation of attributes of normal speech as they provide a basis for a better understanding of pathological conditions. Investigation of new and improved methods for the correction of speech defects, the further study and description of recognized classifications of speech disorders and, above all, detailed study of individual cases of defective speech are a part of the work of the research program.

Service is given directly through individual examination, diagnosis, and treatment of persons having speech defects. It is also rendered through the dissemination of knowledge regarding speech hygiene to parents, physicians, teachers, social workers, school nurses, and to agencies dealing with human welfare. Through its staff of specialists and graduate clinicians, the clinic undertakes examination and treatment of all types of speech imperfections including articulatory disorders, stuttering, foreign accent, voice problems, and defects resulting from organic lesions such as cleft palate, hearing loss, and lesions of the central nervous system. Regular days are scheduled for the examination of patients.

Clinic and staff members also serve in a consulting and in an advisory capacity to referral agencies, which may have afflicted persons under their care. Mutual referral agencies have been established between the Speech Clinic and many other departments of the University such as the Dental Clinic, the University Hospital, the University Health Service, and the Michigan Child Guidance Institute. Approximately five hundred individuals are seen annually for examination and treatment. Additional numbers are seen through the medium of survey examinations conducted in public school systems of the state. Occasionally, staff members from the Speech Clinic assist these schools in setting up a program of speech correction. The clinic also co-operates with the Health Service each year in administering a speech examination for entering students and in giving hearing tests to the students.

The National Speech Improvement Camp under the direction of John N. Clancy is affiliated with the Speech Clinic. This unique boys' camp represents one of the most important advances in the treatment of speech correction in this country. The members of the staff contribute unofficially to the support of the camp through voluntary consultation and examination services. In return for this service, the camp places at the disposal of the clinic its unequaled facilities for study of speech cases and methods of speech improvement. Through the intensive study thus afforded, many advances have been made in our understanding of the nature of speech disorders in their relationship to other aspects of the total personality.

The clinic is in a building of its own at 1007 East Huron Street. Its twenty-one rooms contain new and modern equipment, with special lecture rooms for the hard-of-hearing, laboratories, a small library, and rooms for research, testing, and training.

The staff in 1940 included Dr. Harlan Bloomer (Illinois '30, Ph.D. Michigan '35), Clinic Manager, Associate Professor Bessie L. Whitaker, (Stetson '06, A.M. North Carolina '07), Director of Speech Reading, Assistant Professor Henry M. Moser (Ohio State '24, Ph.D. Iowa '37), Dr. Lucy Dell Henry (Chicago '22, M.D. ibid. '35), Clinic Physician, John N. Clancy (Notre Dame '21, A.M. Michigan '37), Admitting Officer and Clinician, and William Bilto (Michigan State Normal '35, A.M. Michigan '40), Clinician.

Harlan Bloomer

The University of Michigan, An Encyclopedic Survey, Wilfred B. Shaw, editor, Pages 1053 -1056

History of the University of Michigan

Institute for Human Adjustment