Resources

Early Brain Development and Infant Mental Health

This section provides articles and links to organizations which offer current resource information aimed at supporting parents, service providers, policy makers and advocates in promoting the emotional health of infants and young children. The articles immediately below offer basic information on early brain development, the impact of trauma in childhood and how science informs policy.

A number of major organizations are involved nationally and internationally in promoting Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health and provide information for parents, service providers, policy makers and advocates. The following organizations offer up to date articles, videos and seminars related to early childhood mental health – the descriptions below are excerpts from their respective websites.

Website

The World Association for Infant Mental Health (WAIMH) is a not-for-profit organization for scientific and educational professionals.

WAIMH’s central aim is to promote the mental wellbeing and healthy development of infants throughout the world, taking into account cultural, regional, and environmental variations, and to generate and disseminate scientific knowledge.

More specifically, WAIMH seeks to facilitate:

  • Increased knowledge about mental development and disorder in children from conception to three years of age
  • The dissemination of scientific knowledge about services for care, intervention and prevention of mental disorder, and impairment in infancy
  • The dissemination of evidence-based knowledge about ways to support the developmental transition to parenthood, as well as the healthy aspects of parenting and caregiving environments
  • The international cooperation of professionals concerned with promoting the optimal development of infants, as well as the prevention and treatment of mental disorders in the early years
  • Aspects of research, education, and interventions in the above areas
Website

The Alliance for the Advancement of Infant Mental Health ® is a global organization that includes associations for infant mental health who offer the credential: Endorsement for Culturally Sensitive, Relationship-Focused Practice Promoting Infant & Early Childhood Mental Health ®.

The Alliance for the Advancement of Infant Mental Health ® is a global organization that includes associations for infant mental health who offer the credential:
Endorsement for Culturally Sensitive, Relationship-Focused Practice Promoting Infant & Early Childhood Mental Health ® . Thirty-one state associations and two international associations are members of the Alliance. The website offers information on IMH Competencies and Endorsement.

Thirty-one state associations and two international associations are members of the Alliance.

The website offers information on IMH competencies and endorsement.

Website

The Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University was established in 2006 by director Jack P. Shonkoff, M.D. Our founding mission was to generate, translate, and apply scientific knowledge that would close the gap between what we know and what we do to improve the lives of children facing adversity. “The Center strives to present information, especially scientific information, in a way that is accessible to a wide range of readers. Use the menus to filter by media type or topic.”

Website

ZERO TO THREE works to ensure all babies and toddlers benefit from the family and community connections critical to their well-being and development. Since 1977, the organization has advanced the proven power of nurturing relationships by transforming the science of early childhood into helpful resources, practical tools and responsive policies for millions of parents, professionals and policymakers.

Website

Dr. Perry has conducted both basic neuroscience and clinical research. His neuroscience research has examined the effects of prenatal drug exposure on brain development, the neurobiology of human neuropsychiatric disorders, the neurophysiology of traumatic life events and basic mechanisms related to the development of neurotransmitter receptors in the brain. His clinical research and practice has focused on high-risk children. This work has examined the cognitive, behavioral, emotional, social, and physiological effects of neglect and trauma in children, adolescents and adults. This work has been instrumental in describing how childhood experiences, including neglect and traumatic stress, change the biology of the brain – and, thereby, the health of the child. Dr. Perry has published over 500 journal articles.

Website

The first five years of life are a time of unparalleled change in the brains and abilities of young children. All families need access to a wide range of services and supports that are responsive to the family, cultural, and linguistic contexts to promote healthy development. Additionally, some families need specialized services to mitigate risk factors or address problems young children may experience. Our early childhood efforts are committed to bridging the gap between what researchers and practitioners know is effective and what is available in communities for young children and their families. We work at multiple levels to translate evidence-based and best practice knowledge into practical, meaningful, and functional implementation strategies.

Resources On Infant Mental Health
  • Davies, D. (2011). Child development: A practitioner’s guide (3rd ed.).  New York: The Guildford Press.
  • Fraiberg S, Adelson E., & Shapiro V. (1975).Ghosts in the nursery. A psychoanalytic approach to the problems of impaired infant-mother relationships. Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 14(3), 387-421.
  • Heller, S. & Gilkerson, L. (Eds.) (2009). A practical guide to reflective supervision.Washington, D.C.: Zero to Three.
  • Karen, R. (1994). Becoming attached: Unfolding the mystery of the infant-mother bond and the impact on later life. New York: Warner Books.
  • Lieberman A., Padron E, Van Horn P., & Harris, W. (2005).  Angels in the nursery: The intergenerational transmission of benevolent parental influences.  Infant Mental Health Journal, 26(6), 504-520.
  • Barrera (2003).  Rocks to Diamonds: Mining the Riches of Diversity for Our Children. Zero to Three, 23(5), 8-15
  • Pawl, J. (1995). The therapeutic relationship as human connectedness: Being held in another person’s mind. Bulletin for ZERO TO THREE, 15, pp. 3-5.
  • Shirilla, J., & Weatherston, D. (Eds.) (2002). Case studies in infant mental health:  Risk, resiliency, and relationships. Washington, D.C.: ZERO TO THREE.
Mahalo to the National Alliance for Infant Mental Health for content material.