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T. Berry Brazelton (1918-)

Born in Waco, Texas, T. Berry Brazelton is among the most prominent and trusted pediatricians of the twentieth century. Following his graduation from Columbia University's College of Physicians and Surgeons in 1943, Brazelton trained in pediatrics, with five additional years of training in child psychiatry. After extensive study in the paradigm of pathological development, Brazelton completed a fellowship with experimental psychologist Jerome Bruner to learn about the healthy stages of child development.

With this diverse training, Brazelton was able to narrow and refine his views of the importance of creating strong family support and encouraging the individuality of every child. The belief that an infant's behavior provides clues for parents that can strengthen the bond between child and parent can be seen throughout much of Brazelton's work. This approach of viewing families as cohesive units and promoting positive self images for children at all developmental stages is among the many reasons for his success as a pediatrician.

Brazelton is Clinical Professor of Pediatrics Emeritus at Harvard Medical School and Professor of Psychiatry and Human Development at Brown University. He is also active in many national organizations. Brazelton is a past president of the Society for Research in Child Development (1987-1989) and the National Center for Clinical Infant Programs (1988-1991). At Children's Hospital in Boston, he is founder and codirector of the Touchpoints Center, as well as the Brazelton Institute, both of which further his philosophy and commitment to children and families. It was at Children's Hospital in the early 1970s that Brazelton developed the Brazelton Neonatal Behavioral Assessment Scale (BNAS), an evaluation tool to assess physical and neurological responses of newborns as well as emotional well-being and individual differences. In addition, as cofounder of a grassroots advocacy group for parents, Parent Action, he has made several appearances before the United States Congress to speak on behalf of underprivileged families and children.

Brazelton's name and face are familiar in many households as a contributing editor toFamily Circle magazine, as a syndicated newspaper columnist to the New York Times, as a guest on National Public Radio, As part of his research, pediatrician T. Berry Brazelton proposed that an infant's behavior provides clues for parents that can strengthen the bond between child and parent. (AP/Wide World Photos) and as host of the television program What Every Baby Knows. He is also the author and/or coauthor of a number of books, including Touchpoints, and more than 200 scientific articles.


"Neonatal Behavior Assessment Scale." The Brazelton Institute ofChildren's Hospital [web site]. Boston, Massachusetts, 2000. Available from http://www.childrenshospital.org/brazelton; INTERNET.

"Touchpoints." The Brazelton Touchpoints Center of Children'sHospital [web site]. Boston, Massachusetts, 2000. vailable from http://www.childrenshospital.org/touchpoint; INTERNET.

Publications by Brazelton

Touchpoints—The Essential Reference: Your Child's Emotional and Behavioral Development. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley-Longman, 1994.

Vicki Diane Peyton

Additional topics

Social Issues ReferenceChild Development Reference - Vol 2