Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health: A Comprehensive Developmental Approach to Assessment and Intervention
redefines how we work with infants, young children, and their families when mental health, developmental, or learning problems occur.
The authors, who are recognized as the world's foremost authorities on clinical work with emotional and developmental challenges in the early years of life, demonstrate how to use their well-established and documented DIR (Developmental, Individual-Differences, Relationship-Based) model to work with the full range of infant and early childhood challenges. These include interactive problems, such as infants and young children with anxiety disorders, depression, attachment disorders, attentional problems, trauma, and elective mutism; regulatory-sensory processing problems, including infants and young children who are overresponsive and fearful, underresponsive and self-absorbed, sensory craving and overly active and aggressive, as well as those who have difficulty with planning and coordinating action; and neurodevelopmental disorders of relating and communicating, including infants and young children with autism spectrum disorders and other severe developmental challenges.
Greenspan and Wieder show how these mental health and developmental challenges can be classified according to each child's unique emotion, cognitive, language, and sensory processing profile. Most importantly, they demonstrate and present their new data on the most effective ways of intervening with these challenges, demonstrating how even children with the most severe mental health and developmental problems can make more progress than formerly thought possible in learning to relate, communicate, and think meaningfully and adaptively.
Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health is divided into four parts:
- Part I presents the DIR model, including how biology and experience come together at each developmental stage to shape a child's relative mastery of the six core developmental capacities: basic attention and self-regulation; warmth and engagement; two-way, preverbal, purposeful communication and emotional signaling; organization of affective gestures into a continuous flow of problem-solving interactions; the emotional use of ideas in language or in pretend play; and the creation of logical bridges between two or more ideas.
- Part II focuses on principles of assessment and intervention. It shows how the DIR approach to assessment and intervention harnesses the contributions of psychodynamic, behavioral, and educational approaches but goes beyond these to create a truly developmental, biopsychosocial approach that can identify and tailor interventions to each infant and/or child and family's unique profile.
- Part III uses composite case studies to illustrate the principles of clinical evaluation and intervention to describe assessment and intervention strategies appropriate for different classes of infant and childhood disorders, including interactive disorders, regulatory-sensory processing disorders, and disorders of relating and communicating, such as autism.
- Part IV presents a new model of early identification, prevention, and early intervention that can be used in primary health care, educational, mental health, and developmental programs. The model provides guidelines for parents and other caregivers to help infants and young children master and strengthen basic emotional, language, and cognitive capacities.
For clinicians, researchers, and educators alike, Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health is simply the definitive resource for working with infants, young children, and their families.
Introduction. Part I: A Comprehensive Model for Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health. A developmental biopsychosocial model: the developmental, individual-differences, relationship-based (DIR) approach. The functional emotional stages of development: the cornerstone of the DIR model. Part II: Principles of Assessment and Intervention. Assessment. Therapeutic principles. Parent-oriented developmental therapy. Clinical strategies and techniques for different types of infants and young children. Part III: Classification, Diagnosis, and Treatment of Infant and Early Childhood Disorders. Introduction. Assessment and treatment of infants and young children with interactive disorders. Assessment and treatment of infants and young children with regulatory-sensory processing disorders. Assessment and treatment of infants and young children with disorders of relating and communicating. Part IV: Prevention and Early Intervention. Introduction. Infants in multirisk families: a model for developmentally based preventive intervention. A model for comprehensive prevention and early intervention services for all families. Index.
"I am so glad that Stan Greenspan and Serena Wieder have finally written this volume. Publicizing the ingredients of the DIR in a way that concerned parents as well as therapists can utilize its concepts is a tremendous gift. The insights in this book will help not only parents who must face the grief and stresses that having a special needs child brings but all parents with a difficult-to-understand child. Parents who are worried about their child can discover the basis for their worries, if any, and use this enlightening volume to institute their own efforts to optimize their child’s development. Organizing these children's behavior, mood, and impulses as early as possible can contribute to the ultimate process of their outcomes. This is a wonderful step forward toward understanding all children."—T. Berry Brazelton, M.D., Professor of Pediatrics, Emeritus Harvard Medical School, Founder, Brazelton Touchpoints Center, Children's Hospital Boston
"Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health is destined to become a classic text, as it lucidly summarizes and deepens insights extricated over an enormous career passionately dedicated to better assist every kind of troubled child and the people—parents and professionals—struggling to raise them. Dr. Stanley Greenspan, nothing less than a giant of a thinker in the field that his zeal helped to create, has woven a rich and variegated cloth from the once disparate disciplines of developmental disabilities and those of infant and early childhood mental health, formidably enriching each in the process. Clearly illustrated with vignettes, this little volume deftly illuminates an integrated path for scholars and students alike across the mental health fields and beyond, even while it radiates hope for the parents and children with whom we work."—Rebecca Shahmoon Shanok, LCSW, Ph.D., Institute for Infants, Children & Families, Jewish Board of Family and Children's Services, Inc., New York
"This extraordinary book provides a deeply researched comprehensive description of child development. The approach is refreshingly atheoretical deriving its classifications and therapies from empirically observed interactions between children and caretakers. The authors deal with the most severe as well as the ultimately benign expressions of childhood mental health difficulties, providing vivid clinical descriptions and careful research evidence at each point.
Mental health professionals responsible for helping children and adolescents, as well as parents, will find this volume an invaluable and refreshing aid to their work. The jargon-free style and the clear descriptions make this book accessible to parents and teachers as well as health professionals. I recommend it strongly."—Arnold M. Cooper, M.D., Stephen P. Tobin and Dr. Arnold M. Cooper Professor Emeritus in Consultation-Liaison Psychiatry, Cornell University Medical College, New York
Stanley I. Greenspan, M.D.,
is Clinical Professor of Psychiatry and Pediatrics at the George Washington University Medical School in Washington, D.C.
Serena Wieder, Ph.D., is Associate Director of the Interdisciplinary Council for Developmental and Learning Disorders in Bethesda, Maryland.