Kenneth Sunderland Holt

BMJ 2015; 351 doi: (Published 22 September 2015) Cite this as: BMJ 2015;351:h4985
  1. Caroline White
  1. 1London
  1. cwhite{at}

Pioneer in developmental paediatrics

Kenneth Sunderland Holt transformed the management and care of children with disabilities, not only in the UK but also internationally. He was at the vanguard of what would come to be known as developmental paediatrics.

Kenneth Sunderland Holt

His early conviction that children’s neurological conditions should be seen as developmental disorders and treated holistically, as part of family centred care, is now standard practice. But it wasn’t in the 1960s, when he introduced this approach.

“This was a time when children who were then described as ‘handicapped,’ were not considered educable and generally managed in care homes,” recalls Alison Salt, an expert in paediatric neurodisability, in a memorial tribute. “In this era he was indeed a pioneer.”

Like many pioneers, Holt trod a lonely professional path, at times and had to convert others to his way of thinking. This might have been hard for someone who was naturally “unassuming, softly spoken, and not pushy,” had it not been for his “quiet authority and steely determination,” suggests …

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