These images are of patients who have endured various developmental disabilities. Many exhibit the anatomical features of chromosomal damage. Others appear to have sustained damage to the central nervous system. Still others show the signs of genetic damage. The diagnoses most likely cover the landscape of mental retardation, sever autism, dystrophies, Down’s syndrome, inborn errors in metabolism and/or brain damage pre or post birth. As is typical, these children will survive, with some living decades. They exhibit different degrees of sensorimotor function with many having severe forms of spasm and joint deformity. They all experience pain. Conversely, they also experience pleasure and the excitement of attention which is self evident in many of the photographs. To what extent they have developed cognitively depends upon their specific diagnosis. However, in most cases they retain the ability to interact with their environment and their loved ones. Most will deal with the sensations and desires associated with puberty. The fact that they sense their environment is not in question. However, it is still unknown if they perceive the world around them the same way as a normal unaffected person would.
From the Afterword by David A. Hovda, Ph.D.
Professor, Division of Neurosurgery UCLA