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October 11, 1995

Development Through Life: A Handbook for Clinicians

Author Affiliations

USC School of Medicine Los Angeles, Calif

JAMA. 1995;274(14):1173-1174. doi:10.1001/jama.1995.03530140085042

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Child psychiatrist Sir Michael Rutter has outdone himself. His view is interdisciplinary—only he and one other colleague have MD degrees. Thirty of the other authors include psychologists, two sociologists, and two geneticists.

All chapters focus on the nature and origins of individual differences and on developmental processes involved in both normative progression and individuation. I will abstract some thought-provoking statements:

In infancy no amount of teaching will elicit spoken language until a certain point in development. Language is then acquired under normal environmental conditions. A baby whose eyes are covered for three weeks may become blind if the sensitive period for development is missed.

At birth, infants are able to distinguish speech from other sounds.

Bilingual speech before the age of three years is not harmful; it permits outlook on two cultures. It is easy to relearn a language learned as a toddler and not used for years afterward.


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