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Current models of early development and intervention

Current accounts of early development describe the infant’s move towards selfregulation
and self-organisation in the context of the relationship with his
mother or the primary carer. The attachment relationship and the quality of
infant–carer interaction have a major influence on early neurobiological and
psychosocial developmental processes. Contemporary models of infancy also
emphasise infant competencies (or innate abilities) and the ability of the infant to
elicit responses from the caregiving environment. Current thinking about
development also looks at the complex interaction between the individual and
environment and the ways in which the infant or child engages with the social
world and influences environmental responses.
For example, the transactional view of development proposed by Sameroff
and Fiese (2000) points out that each child and parent brings specific
characteristics to their relationship. These mutually interact and influence each
other. Experiences in infancy influence multiple processes of development and
are also mediated by the differential response of parents. Assessment andunderstanding of the infant has to include the caregiving context, as the joint
characteristics of parent and infant are important and interacting.
A biopsychosocial model of development, discussed below, emphasises the
equal and co-existing contribution of biological, psychological and social
contributing factors in the issues and concerns of parents about their infants.
Using the biopsychosocial model, disturbances to early development are seen as
arising from an interplay of factors in the infant, parent and their environment.
Infant mental health interventions using this framework are similarly
comprehensive.

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