Challenges in infant mental health: Meeting the training needs of parents and professionals in early intervention Academic Article uri icon


  • Families raising young children with disabilities face a variety of stressors that may result in an increased risk for mental health problems. Early intervention providers are charged with meeting the developmental needs of young children with disabilities, including infants' and toddlers' mental health needs in partnership with families. Partnerships between parents and providers may be strengthened by their participation in workshops on topics of mutual interest. A survey was developed and distributed to a statewide, random sample of parents and providers in order to assess the joint infant mental health training needs of parents and providers enrolled in Indiana's early intervention system. Survey data from 535 parents and 627 service providers were compared along several dimensions. Parents and providers indicated high levels of interest in additional training related to all four domains of infant mental health: attachment, stress/coping, behavior, and regulation/adaption. However, families preferred to learn directly from their providers while providers preferred to attend conferences and workshops geared toward their level of experience and expertise. These findings challenge policy makers to develop different strategies to meet the unique infant mental health training needs of parents and providers in early intervention systems.

published proceedings

  • International Journal of Special Education

author list (cited authors)

  • Perry, D. F., Sherwood-Puzzello, C. M., Hadadian, A., & Wilkerson, S. A

complete list of authors

  • Perry, DF||Sherwood-Puzzello, CM||Hadadian, A||Wilkerson, SA

publication date

  • December 2002