Handbook of Infant, Toddler, & Preschool Mental Health Assessment

Rebecca Delcarmen-Wiggins, Alice Carter
2004
Assessment, Children, Mental Health

It is now widely recognized that the signs and symptoms of social, emotional, and behavioral disorders are apparent and measurable as early as infancy and toddlerhood, and that an early age of onset, without intervention, may have important clinical implications concerning prognosis. The prevalence estimates for mental health problems in young children are substantial and similar to those for older children, roughly 17 to 20%. Helping infants and very young children, along with their parents, overcome these early difficulties offers the compelling possibility of derailing disorders before they become entrenched and possibly treatment resistant. A mounting empirical literature suggests that early, appropriate intervention, possibly capitalizing on the neuroplasticity of the young brain, can achieve better outcomes than treatment commencing in the later years. In order to provide appropriate treatment or early intervention that is tailored to specific problems, valid and reliable diagnostic assessment tools for infants and young children are required. ...