Studies of Behavior in Children with Down’s Syndrome

  • Leon Cytryn


My interest in mental retardation goes back to the years of my pediatric training. My chief at the time was Harry Gordon, one of the country’s outstanding pediatric teachers, who later became the director of the Rose Kennedy Research Institute at the Einstein Medical School. Gordon inculcated in all of us a basic respect for the mentally retarded and their families both as patients and as subjects of scientific investigation. Continuing on my professional journey I came into the orbit of Leo Kanner and Leon Eisenberg at Johns Hopkins. There my interest in mental retardation deepened and I first began to be concerned with the personality development of the mentally retarded, their emotional vulnerability, and the link between mental retardation and mental illness, particularly the childhood psychoses. Kanner introduced me to his pioneering thoughts on early infantile autism and pseudofeeblemindedness, as well as to his historical perspective of mental retardation. Eisenberg added to this his profound interest in the social forces that shape human behavior and the basic defects in our social and value system responsible in large measure for the existing psychopathology in our society. From there, I went to Children’s Hospital in Washington, D.C., to complete my training under Reginald S. Lourie. Lourie’s interest in the mentally retarded and dedication to their rehabilitation was a source of inspiration to me. He contended that the mentally retarded are capable of attaining optimal personality development under favorable circumstances.


Mental Retardation Personality Development Separation Anxiety Child Psychiatry Mental Deficiency 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1975

Authors and Affiliations

  • Leon Cytryn
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.Children’s HospitalUSA
  2. 2.George Washington University School of MedicineUSA
  3. 3.Adult Psychiatry BranchNational Institute of Mental HealthBethesdaUSA

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