Being concerned for the mental health of infants and toddlers does not mean seeking a remedy for a problem. It is instead a proactive, positive goal—it means creating environments in which everyone can thrive.
— Jeree Pawl, “Infant Mental Health” from Concepts for Care (p. 75)
Each person involved in infant mental health programs plays a key role in ensuring the program’s success. Imagine you are the director of a home visiting program, and consider the following scenario:
- Carly, a child development specialist in the program, has shared some concerns based on her first visit to a family: “I don’t know for sure, but from what I observed today, I think the mother may be depressed. She was lying on the couch the entire time I was there and she seemed both withdrawn and sad. I asked her how she was doing, and she said, ‘Not so good.’ When I asked her how long she had been feeling that way, she said, ‘A long time.’”
- This news was surprising to you because the family had been receiving occupational services for the past few months from Sally-Anne, another specialist in the program. When you ask Sally-Anne, she responds, “Yes, the mom has seemed really down. But I didn’t want to ask. It felt like prying especially since I am there to work with Randy [a 10-month-old with cerebral palsy].”
Review this week’s resources and consider what you have learned about the child development professional’s role in partnering with families toward the goal of supporting infant/toddler mental health. With this in mind, respond to the following questions:
- What would you suggest to Carly in terms of her future work with Randy and his mother?
- What strategies would you use to work with Sally-Anne to ensure effective partnering with families in support of infant/toddler mental health?