Effective Strategies for Partnering With Families
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 She was lying on the couch the entire time I was there and she seemed both withdrawn and sad.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 pages 12–18 of Building Strong Foundations: Practical Guidance for Promoting the Social-Emotional Development of Infants and Toddlers, 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?
By Day 3:
Post suggestions you would make to Sally-Anne and Carly regarding developing effective partnerships with families in support of infant/toddler mental health.