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November 1973

New Knowledge in Early Child Development: Its Importance for Pediatricians

Author Affiliations

Department of Pediatrics University of Rochester Medical Center Rochester, NY 14642

Am J Dis Child. 1973;126(5):585-587. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1973.02110190475001

Until quite recently, most pediatric teaching on early child development has centered around the ages and stages observations of Gesell and his colleagues and the psychoanalytic theories of early emotional development. In 1964, Bloom's review of longitudinal studies refocused attention on the importance of the first five years of life for the social and cognitive development of the child1 and in the past few years, knowledge about early child development has been increasing at a rapid rate. The following is a review of some recent studies which have important implications for the practice of pediatrics.

Social Development  The identification by Thomas et al of significant behavioral characteristics of infants and children that are unrelated to parental child rearing practices is of major importance.2 Fussy infants with irregular patterns of eating, sleeping, and elimination, intense negative reactions to new situations, and slow adaptability were found to be particularly difficult