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Adolesc Psychiatry. 1983;11:147-62.

Early adolescent deaf boys: a biopsychosocial approach.


In this chapter I have reviewed observations from clinical consultation and group-therapy work with early adolescent deaf boys in a special day school for the deaf. I have stressed how problems in communication exert a profound effect on the lives of these youngsters, both by virtue of their past and present influence on family life and by their ongoing effect on peer-group processes and academic adjustment. Primary consideration was given to certain "here and now" aspects of these boys' lives: ongoing problems in the social fabric of their home and school; narcissistic vulnerabilities and defenses against shame; and language-processing difficulties. The ways in which these problems undermine the supportive effect of the peer group at a time when it plays a particularly important role in development were reviewed. By emphasizing current sources of difficulty, using a biopsychosocial approach, I hope to point out fruitful opportunities for significant psychiatric intervention in a psychiatrically vulnerable population whose needs for professional service have never been met.

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