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Kids Attuned is a virtual community designed to spread the word about a revolutionary paradigm shift in the conceptualization of optimal care of infants, young children and their families. The web site will inspire both professionals from a wide range of disciplines, and parents of infants and young children, to learn about the importance of relationships in development. The web site focuses on teaching the principles and practices of infant and early childhood mental health through online lecture, video, discussion, reflective consultation, and written information.
The educational modules focus on enhancing healthy relationships by teaching an integrated approach to social and emotional development that addresses the issues faced by educators, speech-language pathologists, occupational therapists, physical therapists, physicians, mental health and creative arts therapists, and parents. The purpose is to provide easy access to user-friendly information, delivered in straightforward, sensitive and easily digestible portions that can be revisited and reviewed.
The website will meet pressing needs. It will be easy to find and easy to use, enabling parents and providers to use their valuable time with children, rather than searching the web for help or information. The materials will be designed to broaden and deepen the users understanding of developmental, parent – mediated approaches to treating the social and emotional issues that are often the most constricting for the child and for family life. The website creates a networking center for practitioners and parents, making it possible to hold meetings, share information, offer professional reflective consultation, provide multidisciplinary consultation, create a knowledge base through glossaries and FAQs, or link organizations and people in a secure setting.
The web site will bring together a body of theoretical, research and clinical information that has revolutionized the field of infant and early childhood mental health. The primary principle is that relationships are central to all aspects of growth and development, and to the process of interventions in every discipline. The relationship rather than the individual becomes the unit of intervention. This approach represents a change from targeting a disease process or disorder with little or no regard for the power of the relationship in the healing process. In early childhood, relationship- based interventions are characterized by the central role of parents or primary caregivers in the process. Parent-mediated interventions are supported by research in child development. Parent-mediated interventions are intended to promote insightfulness in parents regarding their child rearing practices and about themselves as parents. These interventions are unique in their focus on developmental sequences, relationship-based treatment and individualization of interventions targeted to the needs of the child and parents. This is a major change from the old model of treating the identified patient, in this case, the child, often leaving the parents feeling isolated and disconnected from the treatment and the treatment providers. Treatment planning and implementation is focused on the integration of functioning rather than the old model of targeting symptoms. Current research highlights the importance of integration across domains of development. The focus on function and integration of developmental capacities supports natural interventions. The implementation of treatment plans become naturalistic and spontaneous rather than focused on massed rehearsal of discrete skills that enable rote memorization but do not support flexible adaptation to the natural environment.
The dynamic system, rather than single symptoms or syndromes, becomes the focus, incorporating the complexity of mutual influences on child development from biology, parenting, history, culture and community, to exposure to toxins, violence, or nutrition. The dynamic system includes the effect of the infant on the caregiver, not just the traditional “one way street” effect of the mother on her baby.
Bringing this information into the 21st century, by harnessing modern technology, current research and state of the art practice, Kids attuned will be able to spread the word across disciplines and concerned families, changing professional and popular thinking about how to care for infants, young children, and families globally.