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October 2021

The psychological development of orphanage-reared infants: interventions with outcomes (Tehran)

Author(s): Mohandessi, K., Ghodssi, M., Akiyama, M.

Journal/Book: Genet Psychol Monogr. 1976; 94: 177-226.

Abstract: This paper describes five successive interventions in the rearing of infants at an orphanage in Tehran, with their outcomes. The outcomes were assessed longitudinally. The first of the successive groups, here called "waves", numbered 15. These Ss constitute the controls. The only intervention consisted of examining the infants every other week during the first year and every fourth week thereafter with the ordinal, sensorimotor scales of Uzgiris and Hunt. The audio- visual intervention intended for the second wave of 10 infants was tape-recorded mother talk and music under the control of the infants and mobiles that the infants could activate. This plan was never adequately implemented because of inadequate supervision. The third wave of 10 infants got extra untutored human care. The fourth wave of 20 infants got the kind of audio-visual intervention originally intended for the second wave plus access to responsive inanimate materials. For the fifth wave, numbering 11, the infant- caretaker ratio was reduced to two or three to one and the caretakers were taught the Badger program supplemented with procedures to foster vocal imitation and semantic mastery of body parts, clothing, toys, and other objects and events regularly encountered. The results show that each successive wave, excepting the second, achieved the top steps of nearly all seven of the ordinal scales at mean ages younger than the preceding wave, and the fifth wave surpassed even home-reared American children from predominantly professional families in achieving the top steps on five of the seven scales. The findings show that infants need not advance along all branches simultaneously and that the kinds of experience encountered determine the branch along which advancement occurs. A number of theoretical implications are examined. Especially important is the idea that a dependable educational psychology for infancy and early childhood calls for much more knowledge than we now have of the kinds of experience that advance development along each of the various branches.

Keyword(s): Child Development|. Child, Institutionalized|


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