Title: 'An Infant Mental Health Approach to Early Intervention: Supporting Early Relationships between infants and parents as a foundation for communication development'
Track: 3 - Language Acquisition and Development
Keyword(s): Infant Mental Health Language Pragmatics
Learning Objectives:
  1. What: Participants will understand the concepts of Infant, Early Childhood and Family Mental Health principles based on current empirical knowledge from affective and behavioral neuroscience, research on early attachment relationships and healthy social and emotional development.
  2. Why: Participants will understand the impact of early relationship patterns on communication development, and be able to use this knowledge to develop social emotional outcomes for a family’s IFSP.
  3. How: Participants will acquire knowledge of intervention techniques based on the infant mental health field that can be used in assessment and in coaching strategies in early intervention to facilitate social emotional development, social reciprocity and language development.


Early intervention has been demonstrated as largely successful in helping develop receptive and expressive language skills, auditory and speech skills in children with a range of hearing loss (Yoshinaga Itano, 2012). A few studies (Day, 1986; Nicholas, 2000; Nicholas & Geers, 1997) have demonstrated significant differences and limited range of language functions used by young children who are deaf or hard of hearing compared to normal hearing peers. Concerns about pragmatic language development in children with hearing loss at 3 to 6 years of age have also been documented by Yoshinaga Itano(2012). The results of these studies suggest that there may be a gap in the focus on social emotional development in the therapeutic programming for young children who are deaf or hard of hearing. The purpose of this presentation is to introduce the concepts of infant,early childhood and family mental health as a framework for early intervention, with the premise that infants and caregivers together form the cornerstone of human relationships. Communication evolves from early attachment patterns between the parent and infant and develops in the context of the relationship between them. This framework gives early interventionists the tools to assess parent-child relationships and to support the development of positive early relationships, social emotional development, and reciprocity in communication which are key foundational skills to pragmatic language development. Therapeutic intervention techniques focused on helping parents and caregivers develop responsive and satisfying relationships with their infants and toddlers will be presented.
Presentation: This presentation has not yet been uploaded or the speaker has opted not to make the presentation available online.
Handouts: Handout is not Available
Anne Heintzelman - POC,Co-Presenter
Waisman Center/University of WI-Madison
     Credentials: Associate Clinical Professor Senior Clinical Speech Pathologist
     Other Affiliations: MCH-LEND Training Coordinator for Speech Language Pathology
      Anne Heintzelman, M.S., CCC-SLP is a Senior Clinical Speech Pathologist at the Waisman Center Pediatric Specialty Clinics, MCH-LEND Discipline Training Coordinator in Speech Language Pathology, Project Coordinator for the Assessment of Early Intervention Outcomes for Young Children who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing Project, and Clinical Associate Professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her clinical work focuses on prelinguistic and early communication development in children with hearing loss, autism and other developmental disabilities in the context of parent-child interaction. Ms. Heintzelman has 30 years of clinical experience as an SLP working with young children with developmental disabilities and their families. She is a graduate of the Infant, Early Childhood and Family Mental Health Advanced Clinical Certificate Program at the University of Wisconsin. Her area of study in this program was assessment of early relationships between parents, infants, and toddlers, and communication development in the context of early relationships.

Financial - No relevant financial relationship exist.

Nonfinancial - No relevant nonfinancial relationship exist.
Elizabeth Seeliger - Co-Presenter
     Credentials: Au.D.
      Elizabeth has worked as a clinical audiologist in a variety of settings, helping to guide children and families through the process of diagnosis and intervention of hearing loss. As the Wisconsin Sound Beginnings (WSB) Program Director Elizabeth has played a leadership role in the development of a data, tracking and referral system, developed educational resources for hospitals, providers and an interactive notebook for parents. Elizabeth has also spearheaded the initiative to enable WI homebirth midwives to provide UNHS. Elizabeth has also provided technical assistance and consultation locally and internationally on quality improvement in EHDI systems. Elizabeth currently sits on the board of directors for the WI Chapter of Families for Hands & Voices and Hands & Voices HQ.

Financial -

Nonfinancial -
Rebecca Martin - Co-Presenter
     Credentials: MPH, IMH-E(II)
      Rebecca Martin, MPH, IMH-E(II) is the Outreach Specialist Coordinator at Wisconsin Sound Beginnings, working to support families and providers throughout EHDI. She has a decade of experience in health education, home visitation, case management, communications and advocacy. With a focus on high-risk, minority, immigrant and teen parents and their young children, Rebecca has provided intensive case management, intervention, education and support around parent-child relationships, child development, family stability, domestic violence and physical/emotional health. Rebecca completed her public health Preceptorship at a community health center in rural Wisconsin working with Amish and Hispanic communities. Rebecca served as a Peace Corps Volunteer, working to better maternal/child health and improve community organization. She is a graduate of UW-Madison’s Infant, Early Childhood and Family Mental Health certificate program and has earned her Level II Infant Mental Health Endorsement as an Infant Family Specialist for culturally sensitive, relationship-focused practice promoting infant mental health.

Financial - No relevant financial relationship exist.

Nonfinancial - No relevant nonfinancial relationship exist.