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During a recent summer trip to Connecticut, Glen Steele, OD '69, took time to visit the prestigious Gesell Institute of Child Development where he and Dr. Allen Fors, also from SCO's Class of 1969, did their fellowship many years ago.
While many things have changed in structure of the Institute, the concepts and processes regarding development of the child remain very similar. In fact, Dr. Steele says a full report will soon be released that validates the Gesell testing norms that were first used over 60 years ago.
During a visit with Dr. Marcy Guddemi, the new Executive Director of the Gesell Institute, Dr. Steele was asked if he was familiar with a specific piece of equipment that had been found when sorting through some of the things remaining in Dr. Gesell's storage area. When first looking at it, Dr. Steele was initially puzzled. As he looked closer, he realized that it was a chart projector that utilized a flame for the light source.
The projector type was first used in the 1920s and 30s in more affluent practices and possibly even in research projects. Dr. Steele believes the project was also likely the first attempt to replace the paper charts used most at the time. With all the work Dr. Gesell did in the development of vision in babies and young children, Dr. Steele believes that it's possible that the projector could have been used in some of the early data collection that was reported in his book, Vision: It's Development in Infant and Child.
Dr. Steele was able to provide answers to some of the questions that Dr. Guddemi had about the Institute prior to her arrival five years ago. Particular questions were regarding Dr. Louise Bates Ames, a psychologist and Dr. Frances Ilg, a pediatrician, who co-authored many of the later books from the Institute. Together, they promoted and enhanced the initial testing protocol developed by Dr. Gesell. Dr. Ilg had just retired when Drs. Fors and Steele were there for the Fellowship but Dr. Ames continued the work for many years following Dr. Ilg's retirement. Dr. Guddemi has aspirations of bringing the newly validated norms into the public arena so that children will be able to know a sense of success rather than failure.
Dr. Steele thoroughly enjoyed his visit with Dr. Guddemi at the Gesell Institute and reminiscing about times spent there over 40 years ago.