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Sandler, A. (1963). Aspects of Passivity and Ego Development in the Blind Infant. Psychoanal. St. Child, 18:343-360.

(1963). Psychoanalytic Study of the Child, 18:343-360

Aspects of Passivity and Ego Development in the Blind Infant

Anne-Marie Sandler

Work with blind children (who have been born blind or have gone blind soon after birth) has been going on for a number of years at the Hampstead Clinic, and has resulted in the accumulation of a number of observations on their behavior and development. The children observed have been members of a blind nursery group, together with a small number of cases in analytic treatment. An additional few children (mostly of prenursery school age) have been seen in their own homes. Some of the observations made have been reported by Dorothy Burlingham (1961), who has discussed various aspects of the personality development of blind children as compared with sighted. Burlingham's paper describes the broad framework within which this present study is set.

The ideas reported here have been prompted by direct observations made by the author in the Hampstead Blind Nursery, and by the discussion and classification of indexed observations recorded by the members of the Blind Study Group. A direct stimulus was the difficulty which was encountered in the recording of appropriate and meaningful observations on very young blind children. Although psychoanalytic theory provides us with a basic frame of reference for making and assessing our observations, we lack a specific theory which would account for the peculiarities of the blind child's development. This paper attempts to provide a tentative theoretical


Acknowledgments are due to the staff of the Nursery Group for the Blind at the Hampstead Child-Therapy Clinic, and to the members of the Study Group for Problems of the Blind led by Mrs. Dorothy Burlingham. In particular a debt is owed to Miss Doris Wills who has contributed much to the discussions which finally led to this paper.

The Nursery Group for the Blind is maintained by the Grant Foundation, New York. Analyses of several blind children are financed by the Psychoanalytic Research and Development Fund, Inc., New York.

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