Included in this issue of EVENTS:
I began the New Year by sharing two tenets of Appreciative Inquiry that I felt were indicative of a new year message. This issue I want to share two more tenets that have kept me grounded as the year has progressed and work and life evolve. These tenets of Appreciative Inquiry were derived from The Thin Book of Appreciative Inquiry by Sue Annis Hammond (Thin Book Publishing 1996). I learned of them through David Nelson who is a fine professional in the field of consulting, mentoring and coaching others. The first is "What we focus on becomes our reality." The second is "Reality is created in the moment, and there are multiple realities." When we think about things from that angle we cannot be surprised by all that consumes us some days. For either good or bad, reality is relative to what we emphasize and what we emphasize in a given day can be enormous. Therefore, as you think about our topic focus in this issue be good to yourself and use that to take care of yourself and others as we all strive to do our very best in work and in life.
EVENTS IS A PUBLICATION OF THE WISCONSIN PERSONNEL DEVELOPMENT PROJECT, FUNDED BY THE STATE DEPT. OF HEALTH & FAMILY SERVICES-BIRTH TO THREE PROGRAM
CHILDREN'S MENTAL HEALTH
A View of Infant Mental Health
By Karen Wollenberg and Annette Copa
Infants and toddlers have the remarkable capacity to experience a wide range of human emotions. They depend on adults in their lives to help regulate their attention, behaviors and interactions, while experiencing emotions and exploring their world. Consistent relationships with available and responsive adults help children navigate developmental tasks, and promote optimal social and emotional outcomes.
Infant mental health refers to the state of emotional and social competence of infants and young children, as they develop within multiple interrelated contexts to include biology, culture and relationships (Zeanah et al, 2001). It takes into account issues of regulation, feelings of trust and security, expression of needs and feelings, motivation, and attention.
Family based early learning settings such as Birth to 3 services for children with disabilities, have the potential to support primary caregivers in promoting optimal social emotional outcomes for infants and young children. Programs that view the family as the central organizing force for infants and young children focus their efforts on supporting the relationship between primary adults and their young children. They recognize that the "action is in the interaction."
Relationship based programs take into account the mental health of family members, intergenerational cultural ways, and the access to community resources that may be needed to mitigate harm in the presence of multiple risk factors (violence, poverty, disability, mental illness). In relationship based family work, discrete attention is paid to the parent child relationship within the context of the family and community systems.
Weaving an infant mental health perspective into family based work includes supporting mutually enjoyable interactions between children and their care givers in order to promote trust, confidence and motivation. Taking this perspective involves a conscious effort to help parents and caregivers to:
Charles H. Zeanah Jr., MD & Paula Doyle Zeanah, PhD., "Towards a Definition of Infant Mental Health", Zero to Three, August/September 2001
Portage Project 1996
Based on work of Stanley Greenspan.
(This is a diagram. It contains three boxes, labeled "CHILD", "CAREGIVER", and "ENVIRONMENT". Each box contains a list of relevant items and there is a double-headed arrow from each box to each other box, arranged to form a circle. Inside the circle is a fourth list of relevant items, labeled "INTERACTIVE RELATIONSHIP". The contents of these lists are given below:
Why is it Necessary for Us to Address Social Emotional Development and Mental Health in the Children We Serve?
These excerpts paint a picture that emphasizes the importance of nurturing early social emotional development.
Did You Know?
What is Infant Mental Health and
Social Emotional Development in Young Children?
The Wisconsin Initiative for Infant Mental Health (WIIMH) has defined Infant Mental Health as the social emotional development of young children involving skills such as self confidence, curiosity, motivation, persistence, self control and trust, all of which affects future learning, growth and success. The development of all of these traits begins in infancy and within the context of relationships. Emotional and social milestones include a childís ability to experience, regulate and express emotions and form close and secure interpersonal relationships, skills that begin in early childhood and support later learning.
A STATEWIDE VIEW
What is Happening in Wisconsin
to Address this Issue?
Wisconsin Initiative for Infant Mental Health (WIIMH) is a group of professionals focused on promoting healthy social and emotional development of all Wisconsin children birth to age five.
One of the goals of WIIMH is to provide parents and people working with young children and their families, such as child care workers, home visitors and pediatricians, the knowledge, skills and practices that support healthy social and emotional development. All people working with young children need to know early warning signs and how to use screening tools. Referral processes need to be developed and streamlined. Finally, the mental health services for young children and their families must be accessible, affordable and based on models that result in positive outcomes.
WIIMH also publishes a monthly newsletter that includes a variety of information for everyone from parents to teachers to professionals in the field. Each issue includes articles, upcoming events, resources, and current activities of WIIMH. Anyone can subscribe, so feel free to share this with coworkers, friends and family. For more information on how to get involved with WIIMH or to receive the monthly e-mail newsletter contact Julie Bark at 608-442-0360 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr. David Elkind in Wisconsin
A report by Gayle Tylka CESA #4
We were fortunate in Wisconsin to have had this distinguished professor from Tufts University Department of Child Development here to address Early Childhood professionals from around the state reminding us of the importance of our featured topic.
Gaye Tylka from CESA #4 and WDEC President-Elect and Professional Development Co-Chair had this to say about the enriching event: In this era of No Child Left Behind, with emphasis on academic learning for young children, WDEC felt it was important to bring in a respected authority who could remind us all of what young children need to have happy, healthy childhoods. Dr. David Elkind did just that. His message was simple: Be developmentally appropriate. Donít bend to the pressures to put academic learning ahead of all else. Foster healthy social/emotional development. Allow children to PLAY. Play is the childís natural avenue to learning; but it is also the ďsafety valveĒ children use to reduce stress in their lives. We must be vigilant when it comes to supporting and protecting childrenís mental health - trust play, and acknowledge the role it has in the healthy development of children. For more information about this event you can contact Gaye Tylka at email@example.com
Mental Health and Wellness
By Jane Spencer, United Migrant Opportunity Services (UMOS)
Because of the negative connotation that Mental Health has in the Spanish language, UMOS Migrant Child Development Programs began using the term Wellness. Wellness is also the attitude and approach used to address the issues that children and families often face in the migrant lifestyle. Parent groupís "platicas" (conversations) are held with a Wellness Consultant to discuss family issues and child behavior. The hope is to draw parents in, not turn them away, by approaching sensitive topics in a more positive manner. Children in the Migrant Head Start Program also have the opportunity to get involved in Friendship and Feelings Groups to learn more about themselves and positive ways to express themselves.
UMOS has taken the Wellness approach one step further to include staff. "Las Platicas" with staff are held in each of the 8 UMOS centers. In addition, a referral process has been implemented so that staff have individual access to the Wellness consultant as necessary.
It is important to UMOS that children and families have access to wellness services without any stigma attached. It is also important that the people working with the children everyday have that same access. Positive benefits of this approach include: having the Wellness Consultant accepted and welcomed in each center, children and families learning more about their social-emotional development, and staff that are feeling better about themselves and passing that on to the children they serve.
For more information you can contact Jane Spencer at firstname.lastname@example.org
I had the pleasure of E-Interviewing Diane Fett, the Birth to 3 Program Coordinator for Fond du Lac County and current Interagency Coordinating Council member, about an opportunity she had to participate in a national conference on this topic of mental health. Below are excerpts from that interview about her learning experience and her future hopes for Wisconsin.
Please tell us a little bit about the conference you attended?
As a member of the State of Wisconsinís Interagency Coordinating Council, I was given the opportunity to attend the National Training Institute on Effective Practices Supporting Young Childrenís Social/Emotional Development in Clearwater Beach, Florida. The conference brought together over 400 professionals, literally from around the world, to learn about current research supporting promotion, prevention and intervention efforts related to the social and emotional development of young children. I was impressed with the diversity of professionals, from front line staff to administrators and policymakers, including Higher Education, Early Intervention, Head Start, Early Childhood, Child Care, and others. The conference was presented by the nationís most informed and renowned specialists, including Juliann Woods, Matthew Timm, Lisa Fox, Mary Louise Hemmeter and Barbara Smith to name a few.
Why did you become involved in the topic of Mental Health and how did you gain the opportunity to attend the conference?
I think, like most in the field of early intervention, I was first drawn to learning about the Social and Emotional aspects of development out of frustration by my own lack of knowledge and understanding. We often come across children who we instinctively know something is amiss but struggle to truly know how to measure this area of development and intervene. I really believe that we are just now beginning to appreciate the impact of social and emotional development on all areas of development and the complexities of genetics, experiences, and the environment on mental health. The Interagency Coordinating Council is extremely interested in this timely topic and committed to strengthening our understanding of social and emotional development. I was asked to attend on the Councilís behalf and to bring information back to the State of Wisconsin.
What was most striking to you about the conference and the content shared?
Overall, what struck me most about the conference was the intense desire of professionals to learn about "evidence based practice." Wisconsin is not alone in its search for information and direction.
How has the conference impacted your work with children and families on the topic of Mental Health?
The conference enhanced my capacity as a professional to respond appropriately to families who struggle to support their childrenís social and emotional growth. I especially benefited from training in developing Positive Behavior Support Plans, Functional Assessments, and understanding the functions of behavior and how social and emotional development reveals itself through the behaviors of children.
What do you hope for the future in the area of child and family mental health?
It is my passionate hope, for the sake of children and families, that we as a state can develop the resources and knowledge necessary in order to identify and intervene when social and emotional concerns become apparent. And, that we can work together to assure the very best potential in children. I am looking forward to the journey.
For more information about the conference you can contact Diane Fett at email@example.com
Interview by Melissa Velez
What is the Experience of Parents Dealing with the Social Emotional and Mental Health Needs of their Children?
Interview by Melissa Velez with Bobbi Jo Holtet, Parent of Dina
I had the opportunity to speak to Ms. Bobbi Jo Holtet about her daughter Dina and some of the issues she has faced in raising a child with significant social emotional and mental health challenges. The intent of the interview was to gain a perspective on the experiences of families and how they have dealt with the issues they have faced in assuring positive mental health outcomes for their children.
Dina was a child with special needs who was adopted in 2001 by Ms. Holtet and her husband when Dina was 3 years old. Bobbi was informed that the potential existed for conditions such as Fetal Alcohol syndrome and/or Attachment disorder. One year into the adoption Dina began showing signs of what Bobbi thought was Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD). Some of the behavioral symptoms noticed were aggression towards other children causing them to bleed, an inability to sit for any length of time, difficulty potty training, difficulty eating, aggression towards her mother, and the early childhood program that Dina was enrolled in was experiencing similar challenges. Bobbi looked to physicians for assistance, but she felt as though none of them would listen to her or pay attention to what was happening. Bobbi described an atmosphere that blamed her as the parent and pointed toward poor parenting skills as the problem. It wasnít until Dina began making negative statements that Bobbi and her husband were reported for suspected abuse and an investigation was conducted. It was then that professionals began paying attention to the challenges that the Holtetís were facing. As the family engaged professionals for treatment and support, Bobbi began feeling frustrated with the inability of these professional to address Dinaís behaviors. She was often told that Dina was too young to be treated or too young to be diagnosed with a mental health disorder. Dina was placed on medications to address the ADHD but the behaviors continued. As Dina got a little older diagnoses such as bipolar disorder, attachment disorder, obsessive defiant disorder, ADHD, and autism were explored. However, her young age impacted the physiciansí ability to treat some of these disorders directly. Further testing revealed that Dina did not have Aspergerís autism disorder.
Upon moving to another area of the state, the Holtetís were fortunate to find one doctor who helped them determine a diagnosis of reactive attachment disorder, anxiety disorder and post traumatic stress disorder. Prior to adoption, Bobbi was Dinaís 9th mother, therefore contributing to some of the negative attachment behaviors that Dina was displaying. Dina was placed on 8 different medications so that she could attend school. Following the positive connection to a helpful professional the doctor left the area and again the family was referred to other professionals who were unable to treat Dina due to the severity of her behaviors. The family did find help but Bobbi felt they were at the mercy of the providers, as they demanded that the family do what they were told without question.
The family has now settled in a new area where treatment for Dina continues. Some of Dinaís behaviors have improved while others have increased. At age six, Dina is now at an emotional age of about 3-4 years old. Her medications are stable and as anything else, they have ups and downs and progress moves forward and backward. Dina now has her first friend and will soon attend her very first birthday party. Bobbi felt that it was important for her to share the lessons she learned along the way that made it possible for their family to thrive. Bobbi felt that building her personal knowledge base was critical to her daughtersí treatment. Bobbi has read many books on the diagnosesí given to Dina and she has used the Internet as a source of learning and support. Bobbi has used that knowledge to talk to several doctors from around the country and to ask questions when she visits her current doctorís. Bobbi has also had meetings with other doctors not specifically treating Dina to gather more intervention strategies. Bobbi stated that it is important for parents to know what is happening with their children and to demand honesty from their medical providers. She felt that sometimes she had to push hard, but she believes that the parents know their child best and know what the needs are. Parents have to speak out to advocate for themselves. Bobbi is a graduate of the Parents as Leaders Program sponsored by Birth to 3 and the Waisman Center and credits that program with helping her become an advocate for Dina.
If you would like to learn more about the Holtetís experience you can contact Bobbi at firstname.lastname@example.org
Assessing Social Emotional Development
and Mental Health
Mental health assessment for young children is difficult and sometimes untrustworthy because of many factors - temperament, developmental stages, the close tie between parent and child, and the impact of a particular day and its events. There are social/emotional components in most of the screening and assessment tools you may be using. However, still missing at this time are social-emotional instruments that cover birth (or even better, prenatal) to five in an intensive way around social-emotional issues. In order to assess young childrenís social emotional development and mental health you need to know how and when to:
Intervention Strategies to Support Childrenís Social Emotional Development
and Mental Health
To learn more about these intervention strategies you can contact Alice Eberhart-Wright at AliceEW@aol.com.
Additional Assessment Resources:
For information on
the Ages and Stages Social Emotional Questionnaire please go to the following
website for a power point description and ordering information. The tool is
published by Brooks Publishing. http://gucchd.georgetown.edu/documents/asqsejs.ppt (link now defunct)
For information on the Devereux Early Childhood Assessment that assesses areas of initiation, attachment and self control in ages 2-5 please go to www.devereuxearlychildhood.org
Taking Learning to Task
The Wisconsin Personnel Development Project, RESource, and the Department of Health and Family Services Birth to 3 staff announce an addition to the WI Birth to 3 Training and Technical Assistance web site.
Beyond Basics: Application Station
This new on-line learning opportunity
will assist providers, parents, and others to apply the guiding principles of
Wisconsin's Birth to 3 Program, within the framework of HFS 90. Look for information
within the following three areas:
2004 Birth to 3Leadership Event
Calling all people in Birth to 3 Leadership Positions (program administrators, coordinators and managers, staff supervisors and/or those with contract responsibilities)!
We are pleased to announce the 3rd Annual Birth to 3 Leadership Conference:
"Rethinking the Village. Diversifying Resources and Opportunities"
Mark your calendars for this year's one day conference: Tuesday, September 14th at the Hotel Mead in Wisconsin Rapids.
Keynote speakers and sessions will feature:
Birth to 3 ICC
We are pleased to announce several new members of Wisconsin's Birth to 3 Interagency Coordinating Council (ICC).
Early Childhood Special Education
Faculty Offer Online Learning Options
As part of the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction's State Improvement Grant (SIG), early childhood special education faculty have been working together to develop collaborative, statewide options to enhance Master's level and credit-based professional development course offerings. The first step is to announce to you, our EVENTS readers, these two online courses scheduled for Fall 2004.
Developmental Evaluations of Young Children with Disabilities, Exceptional Education - 652 (3credits). For more information contact, Mary McLean, Ph.D., instructor, email@example.com or visit http://www.soe.uwm.edu/pages/welcome/Departments/Exceptional_Education
Alternative Assessment Education, Education 790 (3 credits). For more information contact, Patty Caro,Ph.D., instructor, firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.uwsp.edu/cps/network
Watch for more information about other offerings in the Fall 2004 EVENTS.
Wisconsin Birth to 3 Work Force
WE NEED YOUR PARTICIPATION!
Page 10 - Page 11
(See complete training calendar : www.waisman.wisc.edu/birthto3/)
Lutheran Social Services
W226N555A Eastmound Dr.
Waukesha, WI 53186
Are you a certified SLP seeking meaningful work with young children and their families? Flexible scheduling? Possible alternative hours? Setting your own schedule? Multiple opportunities available. Please call, FAX or send your resume to Lutheran Social Services Birth to 3 attn. Missy Kueht-Becker
For Questions please call 262-896-3446/cell 262-424-9847 Fax 262-896-3450
Equal Opportunity Employer
UMOS Migrant Child Development Programs SLP needed to carry out Special Services program for Migrant Head Start speech referrals including evaluations and IEP development, parent and staff education, and classroom observations. Position is located in Rice Lake, WI and is contractual, Part Time, June through October.
For more information please call UMOS at (920) 232-9611
Outagamie County Early Intervention
3375 Brewster Street
Appleton, WI 54914
SLP needed to serve children in the Birth to 3 program in Outagamie county. Pediatric experience is preferred. For more information please call Wendi Schreiter at (920) 749-5870 or email Wendi at email@example.com
BIRTH TO 6 EVENTS
WAISMAN CENTER - ROOM A103
1500 HIGHLAND AVENUE
MADISON, WI 53705-2280