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Article
September 1959

The Natural History of Mental Deficiency in a State HospitalII. Mentally Deficient Children Admitted to a State Hospital Prior to Their Sixth Birthday

Author Affiliations

Pomona, Calif.
Superintendent and Medical Director, Pacific State Hospital, and Associate Clinical Professor, Department of Psychiatry, School of Medicine, University of California, Los Angeles (Dr. Tarjan); Assistant Professor, Department of Pediatrics, School of Medicine, University of California, Los Angeles, and Research Consultant, Pacific State Hospital (Dr. Wright); Project Director, Population Movement Study, Pacific State Hospital, and Research Associate, Department of Psychiatry, School of Medicine, University of California, Los Angeles (Dr. Dingman); and Research Sociologist, Population Movement Study, Pacific State Hospital, and Associate Professor, Department of Sociology, University of Southern California (Dr. Sabagh).

AMA Am J Dis Child. 1959;98(3):370-378. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1959.02070020372011
Abstract

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.

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