This book examines infant and early childhood mental health and the importance of early emotional and social development for later developmental trajectories. It incorporates research and clinical perspectives and brings research findings to bear in evaluating intervention strategies. By incorporating empirical developmental literature that is directly relevant to infant mental health and clinical practice, the book addresses the multiple forces which shape young children's mental health. These forces include child factors, parental and familial variables, childrearing practices, and environmental influences. In addition, the book explores parent-child relationships, family networks, and social supports as protective factors, as well as risk factors such as poverty, exposure to violence, and substance abuse, which influence and change developmental processes. It shows that, by examining socio-emotional development in a cultural context, human development in the twenty-first century can be conceptualized through differences, similarities and diversity perspectives, focusing on the rights of every individual child.
After working for over 25 years developing programs for children with special needs, consulting in the field of early childhood mental health in hospitals and government agencies, I now devote my time to clinical research at the Hebrew University. My research interests include developmental psychopathology, outcome measures and developmental trajectories for children at risk and the interplay between child, family and environmental variables affecting these trajectories, specifically in autism spectrum disorders.