Tania Sharmin, PLN OT, Presented on Best Practices in Infant Toddler Mental Health, AOTA Conference 2017, Philadelphia, PA

Tania Sharmin at AOTA 2017 Conference

PLN Occupational Therapy Specialist, Tania Sharmin presented at the Annual American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) Conference on Thursday, March 30, 2017 in Philadelphia, PA.

Title: Infant Toddler Mental Health Best Practices

Intermediate: To understand the frameworks/models presented attendees need to have a working knowledge regarding the CNS and ANS and there influence on regulation and behavior in children.

Primary Category: Children & Youth
Secondary Category: Mental Health or Early Childhood

Learning Objectives:
1. Demonstrate family-centered care as the cornerstone of services for young children and families including assisting families to identify and address their concerns, priorities, and resources.
2. Articulate the unique strengths of three infant/toddler mental health approaches.
3. Apply an infant/toddler mental health treatment framework to create an occupational therapy plan of care.

Parent-child attachment is foundational in infant/toddler mental health. Infants and toddlers with disabilities are at risk for attachment issues. As early interventionists, occupational therapists are well situated to support attachment, mutual regulation, and rupture and repair between caregiver and the infant or toddler (Sparrow, 2013). The culture of each family is highly variable with many multidirectional and intersecting relationships (Dickstein, 2015). Families are increasingly diverse including single parent, multi-generational, same-sex, and non-partnered co-parenting households. The influence of culture on child rearing is well established and therefore it is extremely important and vital for occupational therapists to understand how to partner with all families. Lawlor and Mattingly (2014) noted the power of working through the family system as it strengthens partnerships that support family life and the quality of engagement, empowering families to work on behalf of the child.

In addition to family approaches there are many evidence-based approaches that address infant toddler mental health. Speakers will additionally present information regarding relationship-based approaches and the Neuro-relational Framework. Through structured group discussions, videos, examples of occupational therapists utilizing frameworks in clinical settings, and case application attendees will increase their knowledge and use of infant and toddler mental health frameworks. Using an infant mental health framework, the occupational therapist can positively influence growth and development of infants, and young children.