Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Visiting the bed-ridden

I have gone over many psychiatric charts of children taken in hospitals, in clinics and by consultants of private agencies. And I have often been astonished how few quotes, if any, they contain, of what the children themselves actually say.

I have given routine psychiatric examinations to children where they are interviewed by a psychiatrist. I have taken the history of the child's development from his parents, or from those with whom he has lived and who brought him up. Whenever possible, social workers have studied the child's social environment, obtained school reports, interviewed teachers, and relayed information from other agencies who had contact with the child or his family. In the same way, pertinent information was obtained from hospitals, private doctors and clergymen. In cases where courts were involved, probation reports were added to the record or probation officers interviewed.

In cases where children confided to me that they belonged to gangs and gave me permission to speak to other gang members, I made an attempt to hear their story. As much as possible I tried to ascertain the recreational influences to which children are exposed: games, community centers, radio, television, books. It is in that setting and with that perspective that I began to realize and ascertain the influence of comic books.