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Fraiberg, S. (1977). Congenital Sensory and Motor Deficits and Ego Formation. Ann. Psychoanal., 5:169-194.

(1977). Annual of Psychoanalysis, 5:169-194

Congenital Sensory and Motor Deficits and Ego Formation

Selma Fraiberg

In this paper I propose to examine the effects of congenital sensory and motor deficits upon the organization of the ego in early childhood. During the past decade we have acquired a body of clinical and developmental studies on the early development of children which now permits us to examine the effects of a single deficit in the sensory or motor spheres upon the developing ego.

I am, myself, most familiar with the effects of blindness upon the developing ego of the young child and will allude to our own studies at the University of Michigan in the course of this paper. One of our longitudinal studies of a totally deaf infant will be employed for comparison, and Freedman's studies of a group of young deaf children with a range of hearing disabilities will enlarge this picture (cf. The Annual of Psychoanalysis, 5:195-215). Décarie's studies of thalidomide children born with phocomelia of upper or lower extremities can tell us of the effects of manual and locomotor incapacity upon the developing ego.

We can hardly do justice to the complexities of these studies in a single essay.

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