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Edward Zigler was an American child development psychologist. He was professor emeritus at the Department of Psychology at Yale University,[1] and was one of the principle architects of the US federal Head Start program and recipient of the 2008 APA Award For Outstanding Lifetime Contribution To Psychology)[2] evaluated patterning as a treatment for retarded children.


He was born in Kansas City on 1st March 1930.


He completed a B.A at the [[[University of Missouri]] and received a PH D in Clinical psychology from the University of Texas at Austin in 1958. As a graduate student he was already interested in the personality and emotional characteristics of those with intellectual disabilities.


He took up an clinical internship at Worcester State Hospital, He then taught for a year at the University of Missouri before moving to Yale University in 1959 In 1964 was appointed as the first director of the US Office of Child Development where he was responsible for running the Head Start programme.


He reveiwed the evidence for the efficacy of Doman-Delacato method of treating children with intellectual disabilities at The Institutes for The Achievement of Human Potential and concluded that no evidence was found for an improvement over that which would be expected of children given attention or that expected of any child as they mature; the patterning method cannot be recommended for seriously retarded children.[3] Zigler wrote a 1981 editorial entitled "A plea to end the use of the patterning treatment for retarded children", which emphasized the harmful effect the treatment has by raising false hopes and increasing parental guilt.[4][5] According to Edward Zigler and Robert Hodapp, in their book Understanding Mental Retardation, the Doman-Delacato method has major flaws:[6]

In 1979 he was awarded the G. Stanley Hall Award for Distinguished Contributions to Developmental Psychology


  1. Edward F Zigler, Yale Psychology Faculty. URL accessed on 2010-03-09.
  2. Edward Zigler Receives 2008 APA Award For Outstanding Lifetime Contribution To Psychology Medical News Today. 14 August 2008.
  3. Sparrow S, Zigler E. Evaluation of a patterning treatment for retarded children. Pediatrics. 1978; 62:137-150. PMID 693151.
  4. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named western
  5. Zigler E A plea to end the use of the patterning treatment for retarded children. Am J Orthopsychiatry. 1981; 51:388-390. PMID 7258304
  6. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named zigler1986

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