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Early Interactions Matter: Strategies for Increasing the Quality of Early Interactions to Enhance Life Long Social Development . Kristen Roorbach Jamison, M.T., Ph.D. Creating Connections to Shining Stars Virginia Beach – July 17, 2012.

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Early Interactions Matter:Strategies for Increasing the Quality of Early Interactions to Enhance Life Long Social Development

Kristen Roorbach Jamison, M.T., Ph.D.

Creating Connections to Shining Stars

Virginia Beach – July 17, 2012

developmental growth and interactions
Developmental Growth and Interactions
  • Birth to five is a time of tremendous range and depth of development.
  • Synaptic pruning, myelination, and social learning processes create massive differences in behavior between relatively small time points.
  • How can this shape interaction?
neuropsychology and development
Neuropsychology and Development
  • What we know:
    • From quite basic cognitive beginnings, infants learn a massive amount of information about the socialand physical world and how they interact.
    • This happens through:
      • Symbolic awareness
      • Habituation
      • Perceptual learning
      • Conditioning
      • Observational Learning
what drives this
What drives this?
  • INTERACTIONS
  • Lots of them.
  • With consistent, loving, responsive adults.
developmental milestones
Developmental Milestones
  • What can they tell us about HOW we should interact???
typical behavioral milestones
Typical Behavioral Milestones

By 3 Months:

  • Begins to develop a social smile
  • Enjoys playing with other people and may cry when playing stops
  • Becomes more expressive and communicates more with face and body
  • Imitates some movements and facial expressions

By 7 Months:

  • Enjoys social play
  • Interested in mirror images
  • Responds to other people’s expressions of emotion and appears joyful often
by 12 months
By 12 Months
  • Shy or anxious with strangers
  • Cries when mother or father leaves
  • Enjoys imitating people in his play
  • Shows preferences for certain people/toys
  • Test parental responses to his behavior
  • May be fearful in some situations
  • Prefers mother and/or regular caregiver over others
  • Repeats sounds or gestures for attention
  • Finger-feeds himself or herself
  • Extends arm or leg to help with being dressed
age 1 2
Age 1-2
  • Imitates behavior of others, especially adults and older children
  • More aware of him/herself as separate from others
  • More excited about company of other children
  • Demonstrates increasing independence
  • Begins to show defiant behavior
  • Separation anxiety increase toward midyear then fades
age 2 3
Age 2-3

Self-regulation begins

May be rigid in views

Self-help skills emerge

Gender awareness

Empathy and compassion for others

Aggressive display of feelings and behaviors

Parallel to Associative Play

age 3 4
Age 3-4
  • Friends become more interesting than adults
  • “False truth” play
  • Follow directions
  • Sharing toys
  • Initiating play, make-believe
  • Dramatic play
  • Associative Play
age 4 5
Age 4-5
  • Moral reasoning emerges
  • Comparison with others
  • Strong friendships develop
  • Gender differences emerge in role play
  • Elaborate dramatic play
  • Cooperative Play
red flags
Red Flags
  • Flat affect, lack of joy, little emotion
  • Eating or sleeping disruptions or issues
  • No interest in what others are doing
  • Overly hostile, angry without provocation
  • Rejects being touched or held
red flags cont
Red Flags (cont.)
  • Avoids comforting attempts, even when it is in response to crying or an injury
  • Rejects or avoids play with peers
  • Unusually difficult to comfort
  • Unable to calm down after a reasonable time
  • Overly fearful, “on edge”
  • Does not turn to familiar adult for help
  • Sudden behavior changes
what do children need to be socially competent
What do children need to be socially competent?
  • Unconditional Love
  • Encouragement to express feelings with words
  • Practice Practice Practice
  • A caring adult can change the life of a child.
how does this change across age groups
How does this change across age groups?
  • How do you respect an infant’s emotional state?
  • What if expectations are different at home for a preschooler?
  • How can consistent positive consequences be used with a two year old?
how can we use this model across settings
How can we use this model across settings?
  • How can you help parents understand this as a home visitor?
  • How might cultural issues affect this formula?
  • What would this look like with an ESL student?
take home tidbits
Take Home Tidbits
  • Positive early interactions can change development!
  • Interactions can (and should) be child-led too! (Be a good listener)
  • Be honest about feelings and emotions (with parents too!)
  • The earlier a child is exposed to warm, responsive interactions, the BETTER the outcome!
  • Play, play, play!
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