Mothers, babies and their language



The book shows how infants can experience their physical and mental self in their relationship with their carer through touch, mutual synchronicity and relating. It reveals how to help infants suffering from disturbed relations with their parents and opens up a new way of facilitating and restoring primal bonding. It is the outcome of Sansone's observational and research work at the Birth Unit of St John and St Elisabeth Hospital in London.
... The clinicians found for this research are thinking preventatively and with prevention in mind. Yet, aside from Fonagy [28,[96][97][98], Schore [31,35] and Sansone [71,72] the literature reviewed promoted a reactive rather than proactive stance. Barlow., et al. (2013, p.2) discuss working with "a theoretically guided dyadic intervention that focuses on improving infant attachment by targeting parental internal working models." ...
... This intimate relationship is to some degree mutual. While we cannot know what is going on in the minds of newborns, we know that they react positively to the presence of their gestational procreator whose voice and heartbeat they can recognise during the last phase of gestation; and newborns respond preferentially to their gestational procreator, physical contact with whom regulates the baby's hormone levels, temperature, metabolism heartbeat, and antibody production [Sansone 2004]. Because both the child and the parent have an interest in maintaining an intimate relationship, if gestation is the context in which such a relationship starts, this provides a good pro tanto reason to think that the gestational procreator has the right to custody. ...
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Common-sense morality and legislations around the world ascribe normative relevance to biological connections between parents and children. Procreators who meet a modest standard of parental competence are believed to have a right to rear the children whom they brought into the world. I explore various attempts to justify this belief, and find most of these attempts lacking. I distinguish between two kinds of biological connection between parents and children: the genetic link and the gestational link. I argue that the second can better justify a right to rear.
... Because the child was born and raised purely within the isolated Yequana village and careful observation by Liedloff did not detect any parenting differences from other Yequana, one could suggest that these parents acquired some subtle culture practice or attitude at the same time they learned Spanish, which would account for their child's unique (within Yequana culture) behaviour. Although Liedloff has not published her work in journals, one author providing strategies for parents to help with crying and sleep problems in infants, recommends parenting practices of the Yequana (St James-Roberts, 2007) and another follows these indigenous approaches in psychological discussions about mother's body language (Sansone, 2004). These practices have to do with close contact between mother and infant and are similar to mother/child mutually responsive orientation (MRO). ...
Conference Paper
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In Australia, 22.0 % of “children enrolled in their first year of formal fulltime school are developmentally vulnerable” (Australian Government, 2012, p. 26). “Vulnerable” means students are already developing either internalising disorders (shy, withdrawn, depressed) or externalising disorders (bullying, aggression, obstinacy) and have failed to develop socially acceptable cooperative behaviours. In these reports “vulnerable” is the most challenged category in the bottom 0 – 10 percentile, while those “at risk” are children in the 10 – 25 percentile By the end of school or soon after, the situation has deteriorated, with 26.4% of young Australians aged 16–24 years having a mental disorder (Slade et al., 2009), which includes substance and alcohol abuse. Children can be less than ideally supported at home during their school experience by having parents who are struggling with their own mental health issues (15%), fair to poor health (12%) or disabilities (17%) (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2012, p. 69). A relationship outside the family with at least one caring adult, often a teacher, can be “the single most important element in protecting young people who have multiple risks in their lives” (Sabol & Pianta, 2012). New Zealand’s principle family youth court judge Becroft claimed (2009, p. 14), based on the court’s 20 year history as well as world-wide research, that “the battle to prevent a young person’s serious offending is really won or lost in those pivotal first years of early childhood” (p. 14). Plainly, teachers and schools need additional strategies to deal with these challenges. The Virtues Project TM provides teachers with the insight to identify which children are vulnerable (high risk) and struggling and also the strategies with which to bring out their strengths and help them build resilience to meet these challenges. This has helped turn around challenging behaviours in a Kindergarten to Year 12 school specifically catering for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students where “[t]he whole experience with the Virtues Project has been very positive for the college in turning around behaviour” (Commonwealth of Australia, 2003, pp. 96-97), in a low SES school (Government of South Australia, 2005) struggling with persistent problems of bullying, violence and disenchantment (Lane, 2005), a South Australia primary school (Jordan, Chand, & Mott, 2005) where the key was whole school culture change, and other schools (Commonwealth of Australia, 2008). New Zealand research in a preschool (Patton, 2007) showed how teachers applied these strategies to eliminate the problematic behaviours in the most at-risk children who were in the clinical range for either internalising or externalising disorders. In addition and without prompting, these teachers then trained parents in the same strategies. Teachers love to teach and parents with young children are receptive to advice from them. There are reportedly 70 schools in New Zealand using project (Virtues Project Trust Board, 2006), and a number of them have been the subject of research that has shown dramatic improvements in student behaviour (Dixon, 2005). In Canada, at Parry Sound High School (2009; Skinner, 2008) with 50% First Nations and where there were intercultural and behaviour problems, the students took it upon themselves to visit the feeder primary schools and train them in the virtues system so they arrived prepared for the positive empowering culture in the high school. These examples show not only the high social validity of The Virtues Project, but the likelihood of producing self-replicating change systems at no additional cost to the funders of the original intervention. The Calgary School District (Canada) has nearly a quarter of schools in the district, or approximately 52 schools with 18,400 students using this project (Calgary Board of Education, 5 June 2007) with this report showing a significant drop in antisocial behaviour and an increase in student reported perceptions of safety.
Family sculpture has been defined as a dynamic, active, non-linear and non-verbal technique to portray family relationships. To emphasize the non-verbal character of the technique, we created a “Blind and Mute” modification. The cornerstones of the “Blind and Mute” method are: (1) the sculptor doesn’t tell anything about the situation to be sculpted (2) the leader of the process chooses the actors into the roles which are unknown to everyone, (3) during the actual creation of the sculpture no words are used. In this arrangement the actors portraying the family members have to rely only on their inner feelings and sensations derived from the body and from the spatial configuration of the sculpture. The method is used in the training of family therapists to increase their self-awareness of their family of origin issues. Additionally, it is used as a means of clinical supervision when trainees work with families. In this way the meaning and importance of non-verbal interaction within the family therapeutic system is highlighted.
Children who experience abuse, neglect, and/or trauma are disproportionately represented among those who deteriorate into challenging and pervasive behavioral disorders. The Trust-Based Relational Intervention™ Interactive Principles, described in this article, have been used effectively in a variety of settings, including camps, homes, schools, and residential treatment facilities.
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