April 11 & 12, 2019
IMHP is pleased to invite you to our 6th Biennial National
Expanding Horizons for the Early Years Institute on Infant Mental Health.
There is a robust body of science underlying the importance of infant and early childhood mental health. Those implementing programs and services for families must have an understanding of scientific research in order to integrate evidence-based knowledge and practices towards successful outcomes. The emerging research in the fields of neuroscience and epigenetics increasingly shapes our understanding of mental health and development in early childhood, but it is not always clear how this scientific inquiry can be integrated into everyday practice for front line practitioners. How does the science of infant and early mental health change our knowledge, policy, and practice?
The field of infant mental health is built on foundations of interdisciplinary understanding. In the current landscape, practitioners come from a wide range of disciplinary backgrounds and draw upon diverse facets of knowledge to inform their roles. Effective practice requires understanding of how brain development is scaffolded through the early years, the cumulative effect of experience on typical and atypical development, foundations of learning, and integration of therapeutic approaches into practice. Through community collaboration - the organic processes that build relationships across disciplines by exploring and maintaining partnerships - practitioners can benefit from the shared experience and expertise of others. This includes building a body of evaluation data to contribute to this understanding within scope of practice. However, knowing enough of the science to integrate and build evidence based practice also requires critical thinking. In application, one must be cautious that ‘evidence’ may be unintentionally misused or misconstrued due to bias, systemic or individual perceptions.
The 2019 Expanding Horizons for the Early Years National Institute on Infant Mental Health will bring together practitioners from multiple perspectives to reflect on the values of scientific research and evaluation when considering the promotion of early mental health. We will examine how evidence and understanding of core theories such as attachment and developmental neuroscience, have informed practice, and how community based programs enhance the critical work they do to provide meaningful service delivery.