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Helping the Retarded Child

Am J Dis Child. 1975;129(8):986. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1975.02120450088026.
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The book, Helping the Retarded Child, effectively challenges the concept of deviance in the mentally retarded person. The author, Sol Nichtern, Assistant Clinical Professor at New York Medical College, and a practicing psychiatrist in New York City, is one of the few psychiatrists who has taken time out from the "bread and butter" of psychiatry to serve and write about retarded people. He emphasizes this lack when he states "the current utilization of psychiatric services in behalf of the retarded often demonstrates many of the subtleties of these discriminatory practices."

Dr. Nichtern presents the capabilities of the mentally retarded person as an extension of the norm. When this concept is coupled with the recognition of associated neurological abnormalities, a developmental concept results that is, as he indicates, a great deal more functional than the labels of "normal" and "abnormal." Labeling does little to identify the needs of the individual and


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