The physician must frequently advise parents on a long-term plan for the young, mentally deficient child. He is asked for help in their decision whether to place the child or keep him at home. Administrators of public institutions are under constant pressure to provide facilities for young patients, probably because there is a trend toward advising early placement. Only 2% of the Mongoloid patients admitted to Pacific State Hospital between 1945 and 1949 had been placed outside their homes shortly after birth; by 1955 this figure rose to 25%.1 Of the patients on the present "waiting list" of Pacific State Hospital 41% are under 6 years of age. The same age group represents 11.4% of the Metropolitan Los Angeles population and 6.0% of the patients in the hospital.
Children who are admitted at an early age will differ in many respects from those who are admitted later in life.