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Burlingham, D. (1961). Some Notes on the Development of the Blind. Psychoanal. St. Child, 16:121-145.

(1961). Psychoanalytic Study of the Child, 16:121-145

Aspects of Normal and Pathological Development

Some Notes on the Development of the Blind

Dorothy Burlingham

The aim of this study is to follow the development of the personality of the blind child, to contrast this with the familiar development of the sighted, to show up deviations, and wherever possible to explain them.

The material that we have at our disposal for this purpose is of various types: there are the observations made in our nursery group for the blind concerning children between three to seven years; there is the experience gained from the work with the mothers of these children; further, there is a group of babies now under observation and their mothers who are given help in raising them, and finally, there is the analytic material from five cases, ages between four to eleven years.

The blind are a minority in a world which is focused on the characteristics, needs, accomplishments, and behavior of the seeing. This means that although the blind themselves lack the stimuli provided by the visual sense, all the stimulation which they receive via the object world comes from people who see and bears the imprint of the sighted world. It is therefore hardly possible to study the mental processes of the blind undistorted by the influences which are brought to bear on them from their sighted environment.


Based on her work with the mothers of blind infants and children, Mrs. E. M. Mason has described repeatedly the difficulties and obstacles which mother and child meet in making their first contact.

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