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Wills, D.M. (1970). Vulnerable Periods in the Early Development of Blind Children. Psychoanal. St. Child, 25:461-480.

(1970). Psychoanalytic Study of the Child, 25:461-480

Vulnerable Periods in the Early Development of Blind Children

Doris M. Wills

This paper, which describes three periods of particular vulnerability in blind children, owes much to Fraiberg's recent report on blind infants (1968). The first period in particular, before the blind child can grasp on a sound cue, is one that she described very graphically; here it is discussed further and some additional observations are cited. In the course of learning to understand the dangers inherent in the development of children who have a specific sensory handicap which slows down and changes certain processes, we may even hope to gain insights which could at some later date be applied to children with unknown, unspecified sensory handicaps such as those which may be linked with autism and brain damage.

Perhaps we should first remind ourselves of the part that sight plays during the very early years of the ordinary child's life. From the very beginning it has of course a vital role in the mother-child relationship, both in maintaining contact between them and in facilitating interaction. Even at four weeks the child is beginning to watch the mother's nearby face when she feeds or talks to him (Sheridan, 1960).

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