One of the people who has inspired me most in the autism world is Stephen Gutstein, founder of Relationship Development Intervention. There are a few others but Stephen is one of the practitioner researchers who has stood up for the message that children with difficulties on the autistic spectrum can be helped when we use an informed developmental approach.
Click here for his recent talk on What we should be aware of in Autism
One of the things that is most shocking in the field of autism is that the research about what children on the autistic spectrum need in order to make progress with core challenges, is there but it is still not well understood. Notably what is poorly understood is that the key place in which the key missing skills can be nurtured is within the parental relationship.
This is a challenging but also ultimately an empowering message for parents, but it is one that challenges the way in which professionals need to think and practice. One of the things that happens when children are struggling to learn in the way typical children learn is that parents become disoriented and can lose confidence. Sadly the diagnosis of autism, particularly when it is not followed up with the right support, can sometimes further impact parental confidence just when there is a need for parental confidence to be enhanced.
There is an urgent need for professionals to update themselves about a developmental approach to autism and an urgent need to learn about how to help parents become more skilled and confident in their own role.
I think we can come to this task from a number of different angles. In the I Matter Project we use a developmental understanding of skills and an understanding of the core parent-child relationship and the role of parent as a coach in something we refer to as the I Matter process. The key is to remember that social development is hierarchical - it is not possible to build complex skills if foundational skills are not in place.
Having a child with a diagnosis of autism may be a road less travelled - but if you want to make a difference then there are a lot of wonderfully interesting things to learn. Stephen Gutstein is one of those practiioners who has worked tirelessly to try to ensure that a new perspective is shared. His message is vitally important though in this talk you will see that he is feeling dismayed that it seems to be so difficult to get this message out to a wider community. His message is important - it is that if you are willing to learn, it is never too late to make a difference!
I recommend you listen to the talk! Here is the link again
Click here for his recent talk on What we should be aware of in Autism
Sometimes when I start talking about the I Matter Project I can feel a little embarrassed. The thing is, the issues the project is addressing are really not rocket science. It is not as if I am speaking about things that people don't already sort of know.
The difficulty is that ideas and issues that seem quite straightforward, are not actually happening when it comes to practice. Everyone knows for example that parenting is important when it comes to helping children, but parent education is not anyone's primary business As a result, what should be happening, is not actually happening.
So here are 6 reasons that your school or service needs a parent education strategy:
i) Mental health outcomes are massively impacted by parenting competence
ii) Educational outcomes are massively impacted by parenting competence
iii) Challenging behaviour and Youth offending outcomes are massively impacted by parenting competence
iv) Parenting lack of confidence is widespread
v) Hoping that 'someone' will address the parenting issues means that you have left responsibility for a massive factor that will impact on your own outcomes to someone else.
vi) Anything less than a clear strategy is unlikely to make a dint on the scale of the unmet needs
Hope that is enough to get you thinking. If you would like to join our Action Research Network to explore these issues in more depth with other professionals, you can get more information by clicking here
Attachment Theory? What's that? In my work I regularly encounter significant lack of understanding amongst professionals and parents about the meaning or relevance of Attachments for those who work with children. However in my view Attachment Theory is one of the most important areas of psychological thinking for anyone who works with children with complex needs. It is one of the key foundations of the practical framework that I call The I Matter Framework.
Attachment Theory refers to a body of work first developed by a researcher John Bowlby and by a research group which included Mary Ainsworth (photo on the left) best known for her work on something called The Strange Situation Studies. These specific studies are some which I think it is vital for all professionals and parents to understand. The original works, listed below, deserve a read if you ever have a very long holiday as they represent an extraordinarily detailed piece of careful observational work, but, if you don't have time for this, even a basic understanding can take you forward.
Attachment Theory is now a very well-established body of work which describes the relationship that a child has with the adult figures on whom he or she depends. It makes a very clear distinction between children who have a secure relationship with their key carers and those who have an insecure relationship. This research has clearly established a powerful link between patterns of early attachment relationships and a wide range of educational and mental health outcomes.
Here are 5 reasons why I think Attachment Theory is so important:
1. Attachment Theory provides a universal framework - that helps us to understand ourselves and our own reactions, not just those of our children
An attachment refers to the relationship that a younger vulnerable person develops with a bigger more powerful older figure that he/she depends upon - it is usually used to describe the relationship between a infant and his or her first primary carers. Attachment Theory draws our attention to the fact that for young children this need to depend on someone else for care is as universal and fundamental as hunger. As children we all had a basic need to look to the adults who were responsible for our care and to whom we depended totally for our safety and survival. The challenge of growing up is to learn to transfer some of these needs for assistance to ourselves. However, loss of access to the adult we depended upon when we were small was very alarming to all of us. As adults, we know this rationally to be true, but it is interesting to me how as adults we can forget that we are now the adults on whom our children legitimately depend for their experience of safety and well-being when they are feeling wobbled. Attachment Theory invites us to think about ourselves and our own reactions as they are influenced by our own past experiences and this awareness can increase our sensitivity to why so many of our most complex children really are struggling in their relationships today.
2. Attachment Theory helps us tie many diverse observations together in educational practices and in mental health
A huge body of research has now demonstrated that early attachment histories are powerful predictors of educational and mental health outcomes. Children with a relatively secure attachment history with key carers (ie children who have parents who are responsive and helpful in attending to their physical and emotional needs) tend to be more prosocial and skilled in co-operative relationships, they tend to feel better about themselves and have better mental health and they tend to experience greater ease of learning in the classroom. Relative security of attachment clearly is an important variable.
3. Attachment Theory provides a developmental understanding for a wide variety of challenges seen in complex children that become labelled as if they are discrete issues.
In work with complex children there is a very powerful drive to try to label behaviour that challenges adults as discrete psychiatric disorders: ASD, ADHD, ODD, OCD, Anxiety Disorder, Depressive disorder, Reactive Attachment Disorder. This labelling tends to suggest separateness. Implicit is the belief that if we can give a cluster of symptoms a name, we may be able to find a useful discrete drug or 'treatment' that helps. Apart from the obvious concern about more and more children being prescribed medication because a certain label appears on file, this labelling of the child too often prevents adults from thinking about the relationship issues in which they are personally involved, and the way in which these difficulties are so often connected.
4. Attachment Theory encourages us to focus on relationships between children and their key carers not just on the child.
As a psychologist and an educationalist, I am interested in understanding how different patterns of behaviour develop in the context of relationships. We know there can be genetic vulnerabilities to specific challenges, but more often than not, challenging behaviour, poor learning, or mental health issues develop when there has been a sensory processing issue, a disruption to the relationship or more critically a poor fit between the fundamental needs of a child, and the adult care and life opportuntiies that is and have been provided. We have very little control over a child's DNA or sensory processing (at least not yet!) and even as adults there are a lot of things we cannot controrl, but adults do have control over their own choices. So learning to fit our care provision to the needs of the child rather than expecting them to adapt to us, beyond their capabilities, is a process that can make a powerful difference to a wide variety of outcomes.
5. Attachment Theory provides a very clear and practical direction of travel for therapeutic and educational work
it is important to remember that the distinction between secure and insecure is NOT a value judgement - a securely attached child or adult is not BETTER than an insecurely attached person. On the contrary, insecurity in attachment relationships can become a powerful driver for achievement in business for example. However, given that there is such a powerful body of evidence of the benefits of greater security in our key attachments, for both mental health and for educational outcomes, attachment theory can provide a very strong framework to guide the priorities of our policy making and practices. Thus any step that can be taken to encourage key adults to respect and respond appropriately to a child's attachment needs and thus increase their attachment security will be fundamentally important ones.
Attachment Theory is an extremely powerful organising framework. In The I Matter Framework therefore, attachment relationships form one of the most important organising ideas in the frame, but attachment is not the only organising idea. I have found that by adding in ideas that are well-described or more elaborated in other psychological approaches, an even more powerful and practical framework can emerge. More on this in future blogs!
How much have you read about Attachment Ideas? Let me know how they have influenced you, or what you would like to know more about!
You can find out more about I Matter Courses Here
As a practising clinical psychologist and experienced teacher I have become increasingly concerned about the levels of stress I am observing amongst my education colleagues in schools. This last half term it seems that staff are more stressed than ever before and we are just at the beginning of the school year.
Teachers are by and large an extremely conscientious and hardworking bunch. My concern is that the expectations of what class teachers and senior leaders should be able to achieve have grown and grown and grown, to beyond what is reasonable and healthy. The resulting imbalance between the demands of the role in hand and the capacities or resources that the class teachers and senior leaders available to them is seriously out of balance for too many.
Symptoms of stress arise when there is an imbalance between demands and resources: As anyone who starts to study the content covered in the Level 1 I Matter Courses, will quickly come to appreciate, it is quite clear that excessive imbalance between demands and resources can lead to predictable physiological and psychological impact on children and on adults. One of the most important of these is that stressed adults and children all tend to become more reactive, and impatient and intolerant. This is of particular concern when those same stressed adults are interacting with highly reactive and stressed children and parents.
There is some amazing practice in our schools with committed staff seeking to offer every child an opportunity for an education. Learning I Matter principles can really help a lot. However, there comes a point with too much top down pressure to deliver results that are out of line with what these same professionals, children and parents can realistically manage, then what I have seen is that the child can become the barrier to the teacher and school delivering the required results.
The personal and professional impact of excessive demands In this content, the sheer level of stress I observe that is being experienced by too many schools in connection with the Ofsted process is an indicator of something that is seriously out of touch with the reality and needs of what is actually happening. I am appalled when I get to hear about yet another experienced head teacher or class teacher reaching total breaking point, but in the last months I have been hearing these stories more and more often. I think this is a result of an unfair and unreasonable amount of pressure on adults who deserve our support.
Not only are some personal tragedies involved for highly committed individuals, but this relentless pressure on already committed adults has in my view very serious potential impact for our most vulnerable young people. What these young people need more than anything is time to develop within the context of supportive emotionally attuned relationships with adults who are not overwhelmed. Learning to relate to other people takes time and is very difficult to learn if the task demands are developmentally insensitive and the people being interacted with are pushed to breaking point.
My greater concern is that these issues played out in the classroom with our young people have really long-term significant impact. When children who have significant delays in their social-emotional development are not given time to learn these skills because the curriculum is insensitive to the need, and when the teachers are being pushed and pushed to deliver literacy and numeracy results regardless of their pupils capacity and readiness for such formalised adult led learning, the result is not neutral. The consequence of such a mismatch will inevitably be felt in too many stressed and disengaged young people who are difficult to teach, and genuinely do not understand themselves or other people, having little or any motivation to learn.
Symptoms of stress and the issue of diagnosis The symptoms of stress are observable in quite specific patterns of brain functioning characterised by much more immature long lasting functioning. The symptoms are those that commonly come to be described with psychiatric labels: anxiety, depression, ADHD, ASD, ODD. The labels do not adequately highlight what is really happening but it is serious because these same difficulties mean that that the given young person is likely to be much less employable and much more likely to have difficulties in their own adult relationships.
I believe that this dynamic is a vital player in the rising concerns about child mental health, challenging behaviour, and crime statistics. Importantly these dynamics cannot be addressed through more and more pressure to deliver unrealistic educational results.
What's the alternative? What is needed in my view is a collective step back and a reconsideration of what we are observing. What is needed is policies and practices that give much better appreciation of child development and the adult role in the developing brain. It needs us to wake up to the extent of the real difficulties experienced by so many children in our schools in their social-emotional development and to think hard about what really needs to happen.
We as adults need to make some changes.
This project wants to campaign on these issues so if you have ideas about how this could be achieved please contact us or join a course click here
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Everywhere I go in the course of my work with complex children and families, I find schools and children and families and staff under huge pressure, delivering curriculum that are becoming more and more preset.
What I hear over and over again is that the curriculum has become so super-charged that the times that used to be available in the day and week for just easing off pressure and taking a step back to explore a wider field have become more and more rare. So, what has an understanding of psychology got to tell us about this situation and about it's likely impact on child mental health and educational outcomes?
One really important well-known graph that is incredibly important in understanding child and adult mental health and well-being, and educational outcomes is the Yerkes-Dodson (1908) arousal performance curve. According to many studies, and this well recognised graph, human beings perform best if there is a certain amount of heightened arousal around in the context that evokes and is associated with curiosity and focus. In the face of stimuli that evoke moderate curiosity and excitement and a sense of opportunity, human beings - children and adults - pay attention and focus much better than in the face of stimuli which evoke little or any curiosity or need to pay attention. With alertness, engagement and motivation to perform, we see children and adults producing better results than when they are bored and uninterested.
However, the Yerkes Dodson graph also shows us that too MUCH arousal or anxiety leads to very significant deteriorations in performance. This is important. Both ends of this Yerkes-Dodson curve are important to making sense of what is happening in our schools.
My observation is that the relentless pressure on adults in our schools is being transferred to our children and it is complex children where the crushing or explosive impact of these pressures are observed most. Most concerning is the situation when teachers find that the complex child is a barrier to them being able to deliver the results that are being expected of them.
Unless the teacher, and usually also their head teacher, is confident and able to resist and stand up to the Ofsted-driven pressures upon them, the child and adult in the classroom are placed in an impossible pressure cooker situation. What we find too often rather than collaboration and curiosity is a battle ground between adult and child where the adults feel they must MAKE the child learn, and the child's role becomes too often one of deeply reluctant co-operation or active resistance.
Not long ago I was asked to observe a young 9 year old with diagnosed learning difficulties - probably due to foetal alcohol syndrome - the aim was to help think about his future educational options. He was in Year 5 but was managing work appropriate to a Y2 child. I observed this child working with a TA who was trying to teach him fractions, counting beads and using worksheets. The child had questions of football on his mind, and what was going to happen at playtime because a friend had been sent home. 40 mins later, the exasperated TA lamented - "his concentration is really no good today". For my part, I wondered just how many times people had tried to teach him about fractions - and how many more times they were going to continue to try to do so on his journey through our school system .
The point was, fractions were not interesting to him in that moment - certainly not in the format being presented - yet adults were feeling obliged to keep working at it, because their job was to hit targets. I wondered how many more adults would have to spend a frustrating time trying to teach him something that was not connected to what he wanted to learn.
As I heard another headteacher talking about the numbers of staff who were disengaging and excessively stressed, I also wondered about the impact on the sense of Self of both child and adult of this very unsatisfactory set up. I heard that in a matter of a few months, the child I had been observing, had gone from being a child who was desperate to please to a child who had become disengaged and cocky and 'strutting his stuff'.
Frankly though, where do you go, and how do you behave when you start to realise that what is being offered to you in school involves endless hours doing things you are heartily fed up of doing? In such a situation, thinking about football and playing up the teacher sounds quite an entertaining option, doesn't it? So, does this child with challenging behaviour have a mental health problem? I think he is on his way there.
I wonder when it will become accepted that so many top down instructions do not bring out the best in our teachers nor in our young people?
I wonder when enough teachers will have the energy at the end of the day to speak up about situations that too many know cannot be right. Is there enough space to engage curiosity and enhance motivation in your school day? How do you think these issues are related to child mental health? If you are interested in reading more about these issues, why not Click here to sign up for the I Matter Monthly Digest Newsletter
So you know well the extraordinary investment of time, energy and finances that is currently invested in tracking children's progress.
But what if we were missing something REALLY important?
I think we are.
We have huge concerns about rising problems of child mental health and concerns to raise educational outcomes, with huge numbers of adults being driven to monitor more and more details of what children are doing.
But believe it or not this massive industry is are not tracking the foundations of healthy child development.
So, with the support of health visitors and health services, parents of newborns through to school age are given some support - dwindling - to monitor their child's progress through developmental milestones.
Then, however, when children arrive in the Early Years Foundation Stage, the detailed tracking of the strands of child development reduces dramatically. Soon after, when the child transfers to Reception and to Key Stage 1, the tracking of a child's acquisition of key development milestones abruptly stops, to be replaced with an exclusive focus on the acquisition of literacy and numeracy skills. For all but the child with the most severe difficulties, this is regardless of whether the child has mastered the steps necessary to thrive in school or not.
It's extraordinary, but it's true.
We stop systematic tracking and we stop paying attention to such important issues as the child's attention skills, or their fine motor skills or their ability to understand and manage emotions, or their ability to understand another person.
We stop paying attention to parental confidence or parental understanding of what children need. And, because we insist that teachers pay so much attention to the acquisition of literacy and numeracy we stop asking teachers to learn and be mindful of how children develop.
We fail to teach our teachers that children learn best in the context of relationships
And then we appear surprised that children seem to be struggling...
Let me get this clear, I am not a fan of the obsessive level of target tracking that we have today. It seems to mean adults are becoming less and less able to see the real needs of the children sat in front of them, but it would help perhaps if we could became aware of what is not being tracked that is of huge importance to the rest...
Our Action Research Group set off this week to explore the results of checking out the progress of some older children using tools that are usually used to assess progress in the Early Years Foundation Stage. What do you think they will find?
If you want to hear more about our learning why not request to join the I Matter - Network on Linked In or on look out for updates on Twitter. Or, just get in touch by emailing: email@example.com
What is the impact of a gap between developmental and chronological age on educational and mental health outcomes? Our Action Research Group
January 2015: The day to day impact of child development on outcomes is the important question that our Action Research group is setting out to explore. We had our first session on Monday and I am very excited that we have got going. We are 8 practising professionals from education and children's services. Our goal is to make space over the next 6 months to think about what we are seeing in our settings.
Because when it comes to outcomes, child development is the elephant - no, the mammoth - in the room. We live in an era in which there has been a massive collective investment of time and financial resources in, tracking outcomes in educational and mental health practice, but where is child development? What is the explanation for the collective blindness about this critical issue?
How is it that we track so much in so much detail in our classrooms and services to do with literacy and numeracy, but still pay so little attention to the issues that have potentially the most powerful impact? I think the problem is a lack of robust theoretical foundations, and consequently a lack of training in the big picture of what is important, combined with too much top down pressure to 'do what you are told', rather than observe what you are seeing and respond appropriately. If you want to produce good results from tracking, you need to be sure you know WHY you are tracking something, not just WHAT you are tracking
In my view, child development is not just about how to take a child from being able to do addition to being able to do long-division. Child development is not just about Piaget and concrete and abstract thinking. Child development is about how children's brains - and adult brains - start to function in the context of relationships and in the context of experiences. Unfortunately, aside from a few throw away references, there is a frankly a gross lack of collective understanding about child development in our training systems for teachers, social workers, medics, inspectors and politicians. No wonder parents are confused.
Children are not small adults. They are emerging in their abilities to make sense of a complex world. Their capacities to make sense of the world, and to make sense of themselves and others, are not given at birth, they need to be nurtured and awakened. This is a process that takes a lot of time. With lack of care and sensitivity, a child's abilities to make sense of Self and Other and the World can be profoundly impacted, delayed and sometimes damaged. So if we want to understand violence, and disengagement and gangs, and any number of other social challenges, we need to understand child development.
Fortunately in child development we also have very strong foundations for robust interventions. And fortunately, if we decide to respect the hierarchical nature of child development, this can provide us with a map and a guide about what we need to do to address the issues we most care about.
But we need to stop and be willing to watch and willing to learn. This makes all the difference.
If you want to hear more about our learning why not request to join the I Matter - Network on Linked In or on look out for updates on Twitter. Or, just get in touch by emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Is challenging behaviour a mental health issue? Of course it often is!
As a psychologist one of the issues that has concerns me most is that people too often make a bold distinction between young people who present with oppositional and challenging behaviour and young people who present with issues such as eating disorders, depression, anxiety and self-harm.
Challenging behaviour and anxiety and depression as examples can look very different. At first regard they demand different skill sets from adults. And if help is not forthcoming one group may end up as adults in psychiatric services whilst the other may end up in youth offending and criminal justice services.
But what are the connections? And what are the implications? What if these two growing social issues were much more closely connected and needed to be thought about as two sides of the same coin?
Challenging behaviour and mental health issues are profoundly interconnected and the reason lies in a much greater appreciation of child development and of what young people need from their relationships with adults, and why, in order to thrive.
Children with challenging behaviour often have difficulty being able to put their feelings and thoughts in words. They can be helped but without such help, we can be sure that they will struggle in relationships and this will become a mental health issue. Sometimes the most challenging behaviour is shown by children who have stopped being able to feel sensitive and vulnerable feelings. These are the children who seem to show little empathy or remorse and are the children who concern us most in terms of the dangers that they can present to others. They are children who have often been deeply wounded by their life experiences.
What is the solution? The solution to young people's challenging behaviour and mental health problems commonly lies in what adults need to be doing differently, and therefore I believe the solution also lies in more adults being willing to make time to stop and think and learn about what is happening at a deeper level.
The challenges can seem enormous and overwhelming. Where to start? There is not a quick fix solution. My observation however is that positive change can and does happen but when it does, it always starts with individuals who are willing to take responsibility for educating themselves.
If you are an adult who is willing to learn more about what is needed from you and other adults to help your child or a group of children in your setting - then why not talk with others and start a study group in your area? For more information about the I Matter Online Course click here. If you want to register with a group discount we run a course each term. Alternatively you can sign up for an Anytime Option.
It is always exciting to find people who are on the same page and making a positive difference. Last week I spent a fun morning in Blackburn with Adoption Matters NW, an important local charity. We were sharing coffee and trying to work out how to improve the mental health and confidence of professionals, parents and young people involved in adoption via the provision of psycho-education and support.
In the face of the plans to expand adoption as an option for children and families, we all agreed that it is essential for appropriate training and support to be part of the package, not just for the adoptive parents but also for the adults in schools that adoptive children encounter everyday, and for young people themselves.
A good model for adoption support should, in my view be like good dental care. Good dental care requires an ongoing relationship with a dental practice with regular check-ups that ensure that development of the child's teeth is progressing in a healthy direction. The child and family and the wider community receive regular education about the importance of good dental care across the life span and when decay or irregularities are identified early, intervention can be supportive, less time-consuming and can avoid unnecessary extractions. When going to see a dentist you are glad to be going to see a specialist, and if there are any complications, you prefer to see someone who knows you and knows the specific details about your teeth. Everyone understands that there are some critical periods, as baby teeth and later adult teeth come through, that benefit from closer attention to ensure that the adult teeth emerge strong and healthy.
Why dentistry? There is enough knowledge now about the important phases and tasks of early child development and about the challenges involved in adopting a child who has experienced disruption or trauma, to know that the focus of mental health care and intervention from the very earliest days of the adoption process, should be on prevention and timely education. Intervention cannot be a one time only event, education is needed across the lifespan of the adoption with extra support given at critical phases such as early during placement, at school transition times, or during adolesence. As with dentistry, the goal of an ongoing preventative relationship in adoption support should be, ideally, to provide regular check-ups, and consultations and to maintain the family within a supportive community, so that difficulties can be identified early with a clear goal of preventing unnecessary pain and discomfort, distress or breakdown. Whilst most adopted children are catered for within mainstream education, support and focussed education is needed from people who are knowledgeable about the types of dynamics that can commonly arise.
In my clinical work I have seen too many adoption families accessing support too late, when the difficulties were already intense for child and adult. Often in the absence of adequately funded support resources, adopters find themselves having to interface with poorly informed professionals. Trying to provide crisis intervention in such circumstances is very time-consuming and also often difficult and when too little is provided too late, sometimes really difficult scenarios can have become entrenched.
Why is such support not already more widely available? First and foremost regular adoption check-ups are often not yet properly funded nor are they required of families, and in my view this is a mistake. The process of becoming registered as an adopter is so demanding that it has been my observation that once approved, some professionals breath a sigh of relief and some families are in turn keen to close the door to the professionals with a hope of being able to create a normal family life. Yet adoption is rarely straightforward and when parents adopt children who have been subject to neglect and trauma the parenting process simply will not be like that involved in caring for a typical child. This is very clear - support is needed and should in my view be built into the whole adoption process from the outset.
But it really is not just the adopters themselves who need support and training. For an adoption to be successful, parents need advanced parenting skills, but school based staff also often need advanced understandings of child development and the impact of trauma on learning and behaviour. Understanding and strategies that a typical parent or teacher of a typical child can draw on to muddle through often just are not enough and too often, in the absence of more advanced understanding and skill, adopters and professionals can find themselves at sea and unwittingly exacerbating difficulties that could with more understanding been managed differently.
Adoption is more complicated than dental care but our support systems are not yet as well developed. Adoption is multi-leveled and relationship-based with complex developmental dynamics involved. There are therefore very real challenges in delivering life span adoption support. In my view the implication of this is that support models have to actively encourage and support families and professionals to see being part of a community and the task of developing advanced skills as a life-long learning process.
If you are interested in learning more about the work of Adoption Matters NW and their Centre for Adoption Support click here. I am looking forward to working further with them.
Did you know that infant brain development is not only very important it can also be very, very interesting!
If you are pregnant for the first time and are wondering what to do with while waiting for the birth, why not use your time wisely and learn about how your relationship with your new born infant will influence the way that their brain actually develops? Here are a five reasons that this will be time well-invested!
1. Your baby's brain will not be fully developed when he or she is born - there are really important things that your baby will only learn to do well if you provide the right sorts of opportunities. In fact the well-being of your baby across their whole life will be influenced by what happens in these important early infant years of life.
2. Becoming a parent is one of the most challenging role changes ever. The greater your understanding of infant brain development, the more you can enjoy the early years of their life because you are more likely to understand what you are seeing - you will understand why your child is behaving in certain ways.
3. There is lots of evidence that if a child is having difficulties it is best to get help as early as possible. If you understand about infant brain development and how it is affected by your relationship with your child, you will be more confident about knowing what to do to get your baby off to a good start and also about when to ask for help and more confident about knowing what actions you can take that will help.
4. If you really understand what your child is needing for you and why, it is easier to plan your time and approach in order to be helpful to your child. A lot of difficulties can arise when a baby does not get what is needed in their relationship with parents at the right times.
5. There is a very close relationship between adult well-being and child well-being. The good news about this is that anything you can do to improve your own confidence as a parent will help your child become more confident. Learning about what these links earlier rather than later can pay life long benefits.
If you would like to learn more click here
Dr Cathy Betoin
Dr Cathy Betoin
The I Matter Prof Blog:
How do we improve the educational and mental health outcomes of our children?
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