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EFFECTS OF INSTITUTIONALIZATION


THE RISKS OF INSTITUTIONALIZATION
PHYSICAL NEGLECT

Children in orphanages may also suffer from physical neglect. In some settings, basic hygiene is not maintained. Lack of nurturing physical contact is common and is particularly harmful during infancy. Bottle propping is commonplace in orphanages, as an understandable response to the need to feed many hungry infants with too few staff. Children miss out on the loving food-related human interactions that are critical for early emotional development. Lack of physical attention increases self-stimulatory behaviors as infants and young children seek to restore the sensory input necessary for normal brain development.

Other physical risks of institutional life may include toxic exposures (such as lead) and the lack of exercise and opportunity to play. Many institutionalized children have never been outdoors: adoptive parents often report the wonderment their child displays on seeing the sun, moon, clouds, and sky for the first time.

 

From THE HANDBOOK OF INTERNATIONAL ADOPTION MEDICINE by Laurie C. Miller. © 2004 by Oxford University Press, Inc. Used by Permission.

 

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