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Nurturing Children Isn't the Only Way to Become a 'Parent'

March 12, 1995

When so many people are struggling for "wholeness" (to borrow a New Age phrase), it is inconceivable that someone of Dr. Justin Call's caliber can say that "people who miss the experience of caring for children are to some extent incomplete human beings" ("Within the Minds of Babes," Feb. 19).

I am childless for many reasons, as are many family members and friends. But that is not to say we have not experienced caring for children and greatly influencing their lives. By his statement Call also eliminates dear childless friends of mine who have compassionately parented their parents for many years as they aged.

I would like to amend Call's quote to include those of us who are childless by destiny or by choice to read: "Those who miss the experience of caring for a human being are to some extent incomplete."

CHRISTINE VERTOSICK, Los Angles

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Your profile of child psychiatrist Justin Call provides very useful information about the psychological development of infants up to 36 months.

However, some of us who specialize in stuttering in young children think his characterization of stuttering as "probably not a problem" in 2- to 3-year-old children is based on outdated information.

More than half of these children need appropriate prevention or treatment after evaluation by a speech-language pathologist who specializes in stuttering.

We are developing a privately funded, nonprofit treatment and resource clinic, the Center for Children Who Stutter, at Cal State Fullerton. No child should have to cope with a lifelong stuttering disorder when early intervention could have prevented it.

IRA ZIMMERMAN & GLYNDON RILEY, Fullerton. Zimmerman is president of the Center for Children Who Stutter. Riley is principal investigator at Cal State Fullerton's Stuttering Treatment Project.

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