Als, H. (1982), Toward a synactive theory of development: Promise for the assessment and support of infant individuality. Infant Ment. Health J., 3: 229-243.
A theoretical model to understand and assess the individual infant is presented. Its focus is on the dynamic, continuous interplay of various subsystems within the organism: the autonomic system, the motor system, the state organizational system, the attentional‐interactive system, and the self‐regulatory system. The organism forges ahead negotiating emerging developmental agenda while simultaneously seeking to attain a new level of modulated, functional competence. Developmentally salient aspects of the environment are actively sought as fuel in this process. This synactive model of development promises to be helpful in identifying specific ingredients of the early developmental process and in structuring specific supports for preventive and ameliorative work when difficulties in differentiation and regulation are identified. An assessment procedure to systematically identify difficult areas of modulation integration is briefly described and examples of environmental structuring are given.
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