Mother‐Child Interactions and Early Intervention Programmes for Handicapped Infants and Young Children

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Increased emphasis in the provision of early intervention programmes with families of biologically impaired or at‐risk infants, in recent years, has produced a wide variety of such services based upon various conceptual and empirical analyses of early development. The impact of these early interventions has been investigated quite extensively since the mid‐sixties, particularly regarding positive effects upon intellectual development. A synthesis of recent research regarding mother‐child interaction patterns and the influence of these social interactions upon cognitive, linguistic, and social development has resulted in a shifting emphasis in early interventions from the parent‐as‐teacher model to a parent‐infant interaction model. In concert with this shifting emphasis, interactional models of intervention are considered and described which provide the basis for identifying specific intervention strategies related to parent‐child interaction dynamics. These strategies provide the basis for programmes which would be sensitive to the idiosyncracies of individual families. That is, the unique characteristics of each family/infant may be more effectively accommodated through a transactional analysis of individual dyadic interaction patterns, and through the identification of strategies specifically suited to the unique needs of the parent‐child dyad.

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Educational psychology, v. 3, issue 3-4, p. 201-212