Latency Period In Childhood

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LATENCY STATES (see Page 8 of Sarnoff (1976)) THE LATENCY PERIOD The Latency period is the time period from 6 yrs to 12 yrs during which “the structure of latency”, (an organization of defenses) can produce the calm, quiet, and educability that permits effective learning in school. The name was suggested to Freud by a colleague (W. Fleiss) to identify the period in childhood from which, during adult analyses memories are not produced spontaneously during free association. The memories remain latent Use of the single word, latency” conjures up the workings of the secret world of childhood. Other words have been used to describe this period. They require extensive modifiers to limit the extent of the time period under study. For instance “the school years” are understood to represent preschool, kindergarten, grade school, high school, and college. An added demurrer is required to establish new limits. “The middle child” has an established meaning. It refers to the child born between the youngest child and the oldest child, When there are three siblings, the term is appropriate from infancy through senility. An added demurrer is required to establish new limits. (For more information on “Latency”, see Sarnoff (1976))

Latency is not a silent time during which to wait for adolescence, nor is it an adventitious element cast into the great sea of development. Latency is more than a moment that leaves a little mark in passing. All of development must flow
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