The Michigan Association for Infant Mental Health is an organization of individuals who are devoted to strengthening relationships between infants, parents and other caregivers. Infant Mental Health (IMH) professionals believe that the parent-infant relationship is central to the healthy development of young children and are committed to the view that these relationships are influenced by:
- the parent's or caregiver's actions and experiences,
- the infant's characteristics and responses, and
- the surrounding environment
Through its members, MI-AIMH is dedicated to examining and influencing the contexts within which infants develop the cognitive, neurobiological, social, and emotional functioning necessary for later life. Whether through promotion/prevention/intervention services, research, education or public policy, the key goal of MI-AIMH and its members involves supporting the optimal physical, emotional, social, and cognitive development of infants and toddlers within the context of nurturing relationships. IMH professionals engage in a variety of activities designed to support emerging competencies in early parenthood and to reduce the high risk of disorder or dysfunction in infancy and early childhood. IMH services are comprehensive and intensive, covering multiple domains and responsive to a variety of risks or conditions. Services are flexible and individualized, affirming and strengths based.
The following is a list of characteristics of many of the infants, toddlers and families who are referred to IMH professionals for services:
- Infants may be:
- premature, underweight, failing to gain, failing to thrive, medically compromised, chronically ill, constitutionally fragile, temperamentally difficult to care for, irritable, inconsolable, experiencing regulatory disturbances, unresponsive, listless, depressed or hypersensitive, highly active, difficult to care for.
- Toddlers may have:
- regulatory disturbances (sleep, eating, emotional response), sensory processing difficulties, behavioral difficulties (tantrums, biting), suspected or confirmed developmental delays, identified disabilities, disorders or disturbances.
- Parents may be:
- adolescent, impoverished, undereducated, unemployed, substance abusing, depressed, stressed, experiencing marital conflicts with histories of unresolved losses that affect their parenting abilities.