74 THE DISCOVERY OF THE CHILD
Besides the measurements which the doctor takes with the
ordinary instruments (callipers, metallic tapes), he makes observa-
tions on the pigmentation, on the trophic condition of the muscles,
on the state of the lymphatic glands, on the blood supply, etc.
He makes a note of malformations, and occasional pathological
conditions, which have to be carefully described (rickets, infantile
paralysis, squinting, etc.). Such an objective study will also enable
the doctor to frame the questions about the history of the case
which are sent to the parents.
In addition the doctor pays the usual health visits, diagnosing
cases of eczema, ear trouble, conjunctivitis, feverish conditions,
intestinal disturbances, etc. The importance of this is completed
by medical service dispensed in the house which secures immediate
attention and continued supervision, as could be seen in the Casa
Moderna dei Beni Stabili at Prati di Castello in Rome.
From my work in these Children's Houses of the Beni Stabili,
I have come to the conclusion that the usual enquiries into case
histories which are taken directly from clinics are not suitable for
the school, because for the most part the family history is generally
perfectly normal. Hence I exhorted the teachers to obtain through
conversations with the mothers information which was rather of a
social character—such as the education of the parents, their habits,
earnings, expenses, etc. in order to compile a family monograph
in the style of Le-Play. I consider that this suggestion is practical
only where the teacher dwells among the families of her pupils,
and not elsewhere.
However, it would be most beneficial everywhere if the advice
of the doctor could be passed on to the mothers through the
medium of the teacher, advice respecting the individual hygiene of
every child as well as child hygiene in general. To the advice the
teacher might also add her own suggestions about the individual
education of the child; but, on that point, the hygienic-social side
of the Children's Houses, I cannot dwell here.
( The observation method is based on one foundation only—
that children are permitted to express themselves freely, and thus