Developmental disabilities: psychologic and social implications (Birth Defects: Original article series, Volume XII, no. 4)

D. Bergsma, Ann E Pulver

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Developmental disabilities emerge from handicaps following a faulty development of the individual organism. The person experiences a disability for any given level of handicap which is determined by the way that handicapped person interacts with the society of which he is a part. We have learned a great deal in the last 30 years, I believe, about how to reduce the function disability without yet knowing how in many situations to correct the handicap or defect in the organism. So our fight against these disabilities, developmental disabilities, has two sides to it. On the one hand we gradually, very slowly, succeed in finding preventable causes for them. Such progress is made through research and organized public health efforts to interrupt the processes by which infections or injuries or poisons or a deficiency of nutrition of nurture or a defect of gene makeup produces the handicaps we worry about. When the multiple paths to the many handicaps look terribly complicated, it is very helpful to realize that all the discoveries about preventable causes of these conditions fall into five categories: infections, injuries, poisons, nutritional deficiency or defective genes. Developmental defects result from these kinds of causes operating during the individual's development at sometime between conception and maturity. The 16 papers include in this volume were presented at a conference held in March 1976 at Baltimore; the book is divided into 4 parts: (1) Medical aspects (description of a handicapped population; (2) pre-adult disability; (3) individual and family needs and (4) social reaction: The handicapped integrated into society.

Original languageEnglish (US)
StatePublished - Jan 1 1976
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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