Books: Developmental dynamics perspectives

Lieberman, A. F. (2018).  The emotional life of the toddler. New York: Simon & Schuster. (Revised and Updated Edition)

Denham, S. (1998). Emotional development in young children. Guilford Press.

Davies, D., & Troy, M.F. (2020). Child development: A practitioner’s guide (4thedition). Guilford Press. (available as print or eBook)

Furman, E. (1987). Helping young children grow: I never knew parents did so much. International Universities Press. (available as print, or e-book through Amazon).

Fraiberg, S. (1996). The magic years: Understanding and handling the problems of early childhood.Charles Scribners’ Sons. (original work published 1959)

Sameroff, A. J., & Emde, R. (1989). Relationship disturbances in early childhood: A developmental approach. Basic Books.

Bowlby, J. (1988). A secure base: Parent-child attachment and healthy human development. Basic Books.

Books: Guidance for Parents

Novick, K. K. , & Novick, J. (2010). Emotional muscle: Strong parents, strong children.  Xlibris Publishing.

Baker, K., Kaiser, M., Roberts, G., Steininger, G., & Streeter, B. (2018). Timeless advice for parents of young children: How to understand your child’s behavior and respond effectively in almost any situation from the grandmothers of Hanna Perkins Center.Hanna Perkins Center for Child Development.

Books: Examples of Developmentally informed Intervention Models

DeGangi, G. (2017). Pediatric disorders of regulation in affect and behavior: A therapist’s guide to assessment and treatment. (2nd edition). Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group.

Greenspan, S. I., & Wieder, S. (1998). The child with special needs: Encouraging intellectual and emotional growth. Perseus Books.

Lieberman, A. F., & Van Horn, P. (2008). Psychotherapy with infants and young children: Repairing the effects of stress and trauma on early attachment. Guilford Press.

Novick, K.K., & Novick, J. (2005). Working with parents makes therapy work. Jason Aronson, Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.

Powell, B., Cooper, G., Hoffman, K., & Marvin, B. (2014). The circle of security intervention: Enhancing attachment in early parent-child relationships. Guilford Press.

Books: Collections of clinical case studies reporting on work with young children and their families

Fenichel, E., & Provence, S. (1993). Development in jeopardy: Clinical responses to infants and families. International Universities Press, Inc.

Fraiberg, S. (1980). Clinical studies in infant mental health: The first year of life. Basic Books.

Greenspan, S. I. (1992). Infancy and early childhood: The practice of clinical assessment and intervention with emotional and developmental challenge. International Universities Press, Inc.

Provence, S. (1983). Infants and parents: Clinical case reports. International Universities Press.

***A good source for these older publications:


Sources on milestones

  • Milestones in Action: Overview of developmental milestones with photos and video

  • Parenting Counts: Detailed timeline of the progression of developmental skills with photo and video documentation


Developmentally Informed Intervention Models

  • Intervening Early: Minding the Baby® and Preventing Later Psychopathology. Arietta Slade (2015)

an interdisciplinary reflective parenting home visiting program for high-risk mothers, infants, and their families, at the Yale Child Study Center and School of Nursing. This program is one of only 17 certified “evidence-based” home visiting programs in the United States.


Related Article: Minding the Baby: Enhancing reflectiveness to improve early health and relationship outcomes in an interdisciplinary home visiting program. Infant Mental Health Journal. 2013 Sep 1; 34(5): 10.1002/imhj.21406.  Published online 2013 Aug 8. doi: 10.1002/imhj.21406 (Download the PDF)

  • Attachment Vitamins: Introduction to developmental processes with photo and video documentation

  • International Council on Development and Learning (Home of DIR Floortime):Training options in the floor time model with emphasis on children’s functional developmental competencies.

  • Profectum Foundation: Training options and Conferences- Training in the D.I.R. (Development, Individual Differences, Relationships) model with emphasis on dynamic developmental processes

Organizations that support infant/family practitioners

  • World Association for Infant Mental Health (WAIMH): Membership, Infant Mental Health Journal, international conference

Affiliates:  See your WAIMH affiliate for additional resources

  • ZERO TO THREE: Membership, annual conference, regional conferences, online resources

  • Center for the Developing Child, Harvard University – a multidisciplinary team committed to driving science-based innovation in policy and practice

Professional Engagement - Being comfortable with ones’ own self in order to be with families and young children.

We each must endeavor to recognize our own beliefs and knowledge and recognize that the other person’s sense of meaningfulness is equally as strongly embraced.  Our ability to be respectful of difference or sameness is terribly powerful; it leaves us able to be curious and to understand.

Maintaining a clear sense of comfort with our roles is the essence of sustaining a sense of boundaries and flexibility in these boundaries “as they may need to shift.” More important, it is the sense of true mutual responsibility, the sense of working with a person rather than doing something to that person that is the crucial attitude that protects everyone.

Clinical Formulation – Organizing and re-organizing the problematic situation

Formulation is the process of developing hypotheses about “what is going on” for this child and family at this time.  Formulation involves knitting assessment data together into an understanding of the factors predisposing (history) to the current problematic situation and identifying precipitating (current triggers), perpetuating (ongoing contributing factors), and protective factors (resources and strengths) in order to develop treatment objectives and a treatment plan. (This process may or may not require applying classification system diagnostic labels, depending on funding sources.)

Assessment Approaches - Sit alongside of and observe

Assessment activities are based on the capacity to observe young children and caregivers organized by a general approach to assessment. This general approach is inclusive of family context, parent-child interaction, caregiver representations of self and child, and caregiver behaviors that contribute to adaptive/maladaptive relational health.  The assessment involves compilation of data on familial and child health, functional developmental status, behavioral presentation, and cultural impact on the child and family system. Assessment supports “problem-setting”, the process of naming and framing the problematic situation impacting the child and family.

Developmental Skill Areas – identify the make-up of functional developmental capacities

How able is the practitioner to use knowledge about age-related skill levels to characterize the child’s capacity to effectively employ developmental skills to solve the array of problems that the child encounters in the context of daily activities.  Through observation and interaction based activities, the practitioner determines whether a child demonstrates age level functional competencies across the routines and settings of daily life and in interactions with all caregivers? Or are there difficulties with specific developmental skills that undermine functional competency and limit the child’s capacity to adapt successfully to solve the problems of his/her daily life

Social-Emotional Developmental Processes - The foundation of all relational health

Social and emotional developmental processes contribute to the child’s successes and challenges in social interaction and social “problem-solving”. How able is the practitioner to use understanding of age expected presentations of symbolic play, representational capacities,  social communication cues to engage peers or caregivers, dynamics of individuation, and emerging sense of self, as windows into powerful motivators of a child’s behaviors and reactions. These motivations underlie both normative presentations of challenging behaviors and also support the practitioner’s capacity to identify maladaptive motivational organizations that undermine the child’s developmental trajectory.

Assess your Current Understanding and Knowledge

Completing The Learning Curve will help you to determine your Learning Levels in five knowledge domains that are the foundation of infant/family practice. You will receive information about areas of strength and areas where additional support will enhance your capacity to apply these concepts in daily practice.

Get Instant Feedback To Help Further Your Skills

The Learning Curve will provide you with immediate feedback summarizing your responses in the five Knowledge Domains: Knowledge of Assessment Approaches, Developmental Skill Areas, Social and Emotional Developmental Processes, Professional Engagement and Clinical Formulation. Learn more about the Knowledge Domains here. Feedback will identify your Learning Zones along the continuum from New Concept to Application. Feedback will also identify some Resources (above) for some suggested reading to support your learning process.

See Your Skills Build

Return to The Learning Curve over time as you use the resources to strengthen your ability to apply the concepts. Revisit The Learning Curve to evaluate the impact of your recommended learning activities. Find out about changes in your knowledge base. Strengthening your knowledge base will help you to apply these concepts in work with each individual child who needs the support of your intervention capacities/abilities.