In managing the retarded child, physicians have traditionally emphasized diagnostic evaluation with assessment of the functional outcome of the retardation. In spite of the fact that it has been recognized for a considerable period of time,1 that parents are apt to respond with strong emotions to the realization that their child is retarded, little effort has been made to teach physicians how to anticipate and cope with such responses by parents during the diagnostic period.
It appears from evidence presented in a recent issue of the Archives of General Psychiatry2 that parents of retarded children, as well as parents of children with cystic fibrosis, respond strongly to the manner in which the physician manages their emotional responses during the period of diagnostic evaluation. Whether or not parents of such children regard the attending physician as helpful appears to depend heavily on the physician's skills in dealing with the
Parent and Physician. JAMA. 1969;209(6):932. doi:10.1001/jama.1969.03160190054017