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January 1963

Self-Awareness in Schizophrenic Children

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1963;8(1):47-60. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1963.01720070049006

Observation of manifestly disordered behavior in children has distinct value for highlighting salient areas of ego development in childhood. Gross deviations from presumptively normal function thus are useful guides to those facets of normal child development that are most profitably selected for psychoanalytic investigation. There is particular profit in the study of childhood schizophrenia as an instance of exceptional failure in ego. Indeed the viewpoint directing the Ittleson Center for Child Research therapeutic and experimental investigations in childhood schizophrenia is that this diagnosis basically means that the clinical observer has been impressed by extensive, though individually varying impairment in ego functions, i.e., those functions which presumptively are involved in the normal child's contact with his environment. These manipulative and orientative functions—cognition, speech, motility, and affectivity—determine the efficacy with which the child gratifies his needs, tests reality, and adapts for purpose of survival.