for predictors and early signs of risk for developmental delay. They also introduced the Barnard Model showing how caregiver/parent characteristics of sensitivity to cues, alleviation of distress, and provision of growthfostering situations interact with infant/child characteristics of clarity of cues and responsiveness to parent/caregiver. Interference in this cycle caused by maternal factors (e.g., illness, substance abuse, low parenting knowledge) or child factors (e.g., low birthweight, illness, disability, prematurity) can lead to a breakdown in the relationship between parent and child. They discussed the variety of cues that children use to signal their needs, wants, desires, and self-regulation. An impaired relationship can cause parents to miss subtle disengagement cues (e.g., hand to ear, pouting, gaze aversion), often causing potent disengagement cues (e.g., throwing, tray pounding, overhand beating) to follow. While the NCAST Feeding Scale is not designed to identify ASD, and there was a wide range of scores among children diagnosed with ASD, there was a correlation between higher scores and lower incidence of ASD at age 3. “Infant Crying and Family Functioning: Clinical Screening and Referral,” presented by Tiﬀany Burkhardt, Ph.D., Linda Gilkerson, Ph.D., and Leslie E. Katch, MSW, addressed an issue common to many parents. Excessive crying occurs in about 20% of infants in the United States and is one of the most common complaints parents bring to pediatricians. Crying can be related to infant factors (reflux, allergies, sensory issues), maternal factors (prenatal exposure to cigarettes and alcohol, maternal mental health), and/or relationship factors (parent-infant dysfunction). Only 5-10% of babies with excessive crying have a physiological reason for doing so. Possible treatments include medical and behavioral interventions, depending on the root cause. Negative outcomes from excessive crying include stress in the maternal-infant relationship from the mother’s inability to soothe her infant, higher rates of depression and stress and lower self-eﬃcacy among parents, and higher risk of abuse, specifically Shaken Baby Syndrome, for infants. Parents’ perceptions of their child’s crying was the strongest predictor of parental distress and poor functioning, regardless of the actual amount of crying. Burkhardt, Gilkerson and Katch presented a new tool, the Infant
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Crying and Family Functioning Tool, as a screening instrument to identify families in need of support. They suggested that care providers have a conversation with families to determine if they are struggling with crying and fussing, if they have support or want it, and if referrals to local support services are approbriate. “Making Connections: How Executive Function and SelfRegulation Form the Foundation for Lifelong Learning and Success” was presented by Sherri L. Alderman, MD, and Megan McClelland, Ph.D. The environment a child grows up in is something that can be controlled by the adults in his’her life. Temperament is often a result of the environment in utero and can aﬀect a child’s learning throughout their life. Infants seek out connections for safety and survival and depend on their parents or caregivers to act as their prefrontal cortex, requiring adults to be mindful of their emotional reactions around children. A study of sleeping infants showed that they were still able to hear and respond to what happened around them. Infants in high-stress environments showed elevated levels of the stress hormone cortisol. Cortisol has a two-hour half life, leading to a build-up of toxic stress for these children. In conclusion, the presenters shared a song by Cookie Monster from Sesame Street titled “But Me Wait” as a fun way to teach executive functioning skills to children (https://www.youtube.com/ watch?v=9PnbKL3wuH4). The NTI has been renamed the ZERO TO THREE Annual Conference for 2016. Registration is now open for the event December 7-9 in New Orleans, Louisiana.
About the Author Dana Bolton, MEd, MMT, MT-BC coowns Bolton Music Therapy in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, and has worked in the early intervention field for 12 years. Dana joined the imagine editorial team in 2014.
In this issue, over 70 authors from 12 countries share their dedication and passion for early childhood music therapy with imagine readers....