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The Pediatric Forum
May 2007

Growth Attenuation: Unjustifiable Non-therapy

Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2007;161(5):520-522. doi:10.1001/archpedi.161.5.520-b

Gunther and Diekema1 provided the case of a 6-year-old girl with profound and multiple impairments who underwent a hysterectomy and “growth-attenuation therapy.” The intention was to avoid a future out-of-home placement by ensuring that the child remained small in stature, thereby helping her parents to continue to care for her. As leaders of the American Association on Mental Retardation, the oldest multidisciplinary association in the United States representing professionals within the field of intellectual and developmental disabilities, we endorse policies and actions that help families to rear their children at home, and we applaud the efforts of the many professionals who provide extraordinary care to children with intensive and pervasive support needs. However, we view growth-attenuation as a totally unacceptable option. Brosco and Feudtner2 raised serous concerns, and we add to those.

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