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Keeping Our Balance on a Slippery Slope: Training and Supporting Infant/Family Specialists Within an Organizational Context

Norman-Murch, Trudi PhD, CCC-SLP

Original Article

There is an emerging concept of the “infant/family” field and an understanding of the core knowledge, principles, and practices that are shared by a broad range of professionals who work with young children and their families. In particular, there is an awareness of the critical importance of early social and emotional development as an organizer of overall development, and a focus on the tremendous impact that caregiver-child relationships have on child development. There is also an appreciation of the ways in which the caregiver-professional relationships can either support or interfere with effective service delivery and the ways in which that relationship actually is a form of intervention. For many practitioners, these trends represent a change in their scope of practice, and in the way they do their work. This article is an account of an organizational approach to the ongoing professional development of infant-family professionals, as implemented in a large, nonprofit, human services agency. Core training content is outlined, along with the organization's staff development plan. Primary emphasis is placed on supervision as the vehicle for staff development, along with the role of leadership and the use of in-service training and consultative support.

Southwest Human Development, Phoenix, Ariz.

Corresponding author: Trudi Norman-Murch, PhD, CCC-SLP, Services for Children With Disabilities, Southwest Human Development, 2850 N 24th St, Phoenix AZ 85008 (e-mail:

©2005Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.