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Weil, A.P. (1956). Some Evidences of Deviational Development in Infancy and Early Childhood. Psychoanal. St. Child, 11:292-299.

(1956). Psychoanalytic Study of the Child, 11:292-299

Some Evidences of Deviational Development in Infancy and Early Childhood

Annemarie P. Weil, M.D.

This paper deals with certain early phenomena encountered in infants and prelatency children who—according to the severity of their disturbance—are later called deviational, ego-disturbed, atypical, or even childhood schizophrenias (Putnam, 1948); (Rank, 1949); (Weil, 1953); (Mahler, 1940), (1952); (Bender, 1947). Many of us have come to recognize that this group covers a rather wide range of disturbances of varying degrees of severity, with the near-psychotic cases at one end, and much milder and much less conspicuous disorders at the other.

Severely pathological development, usually evident earlier, as well as less severe disturbances with clearly pathological behavior only in latency have been described before. We shall present here mainly some of the finer signs of such disorders in infancy and early childhood. Such manifestations, although different because of the age, then indicate the same basic pathology: it seems that the development in such children lacks integration at all times. They show peculiarities and unevenness of their general maturational patterning, of their physiological functioning, and of their psychological apparatus. They show delay in ego development and, frequently, deviations in the expression of libidinal and aggressive drives. This is often associated with an overload of tension evident from an early age, and with various manifestations of anxiousness.

Distortion of ego development at the various age levels (from the beginning to age six) becomes evident if one scrutinizes the different facets of the growing ego. The gradual development of object relationship is one such facet, one which is most dependent on drive endowment.

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