Here I am! Help Me Grow! The Emotional Development of Infants and Toddlers in a Relational Context

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Date(s) - November 4
9:00 am - 4:00 pm


Here I am! Help Me Grow! The Emotional Development of Infants and Toddlers in a Relational Context

Dates, Times, and Topics:
Nov 4th, 2016 from 9am- 4pm

Drawing on an integrated understanding of family systems theoretical framework, attachment theory and culturally specific “traditional wisdom,” we can generally acknowledge that, even before birth, an infant’s presence in the world becomes a powerful change agent for that infant’s caregiving system; setting in motion an ongoing series of increasingly complex adjustments and adaptations for all family members and their relationships with each other. We also commonly acknowledge that all infants and toddlers need nurturing relationships to grow and thrive, and that those essential nurturing relationships are best provided by a small core of people, i.e., a family. Ideally, the family system weathers the changes and establishes areas of new adaptations, thus restoring a sense of equilibrium. However, for vulnerable families who are already struggling with personal and social challenges, the impact of this ‘normal’ phenomenon on both infant and caregivers can become overwhelming and worrisome. In the face of such challenges and the complexities of the professional system/program responses that may be deemed necessary for the safety and well being of the infant, the actual caregiving and relationship needs of the infant are, paradoxically, at risk for being overlooked.

This interactive training will explore the complex challenges of keeping infant/toddlers’ developing needs in clear and ever-present focus as, across systems and program goals, the helping professional seeks to provide empathic support and effective intervention to very vulnerable families while honoring the importance of relationship histories, cultural perspectives, and the multiple needs of those babies, their birth and/or foster families. Using case vignettes, scripted ‘voices’ of infants and toddlers as well as videotaped interactions between infants, toddlers and their parents, we will explore how early relationship experiences impact long-term social/emotional development, depending on the emotional availability and readiness for interaction of those with whom they are in relationship. Specifically, we will ask ourselves what we can learn by listening to infants/toddlers at different stages development, and we will consider together how our listening can provide guidance for carrying out individual professional responsibilities, and support for promoting cross-system collaboration. The reflective support needs of professionals working with and advocating for vulnerable infants/toddlers and their families will be considered, especially in the context of how our own relationship experiences influence what each of us brings to our work.

About the Instructor

Kathleen Baltman, M.A., IMH-E IV, is an Infant Mental Health Specialist, mentor and trainer with a Mentor Level (Level IV) Endorsement by the Michigan Association for Infant Mental Health. Her professional experience over the past 36 years has included provision of infant mental health clinical services, program development and administration, and professional development training and consultation for community professionals in mental health, nursing, child welfare and early education. She has also written a number of articles related to Infant Mental Health. In 2010, Kathleen retired from her position as Director, Center for Early Childhood at The Guidance Center, Southgate, MI. Much of her continuing professional work revolves around the integration of infant mental health principles into diverse areas of practice, particularly in areas of child welfare, foster care, and childcare and early education. Currently, Kathleen provides reflective consultation, training and support to clinical and supervisory level professionals, including infant mental health specialists serving infants/toddlers and families with open foster care system court cases, child welfare system professionals, and the staff of  a large Michigan county-wide Head Start and Early Head Start program, including the directors and coordinators, program specialists, teachers, home visitors, and family home care providers.


UJA, New York City
130 E. 59th St
New York, NY 10022


Early registration (on or before October 7, 2016): $105
Regular registration (after October 7, 2016): $115
Adelphi Full-Time Student:  $65.00
Adelphi Full-Time Faculty:  $90.00

This program has been approved for the following continuing education credits:

  • Social work (6 hours)
  • CASAC renewal (6 hours pending approval)
  • Education (6 hours)
  • Psychology (6 hours)
  • NBCC (6 hours)

Register Today

Organizational NYS-AIMH Members

We welcome all organizations that share our mission of supporting the mental health of young children.

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