In your Discussions for this unit, you will assess the impact that environmental influences have on the biological development of unborn and newly born children. Further, you will practice assessing hypothetical scenarios of high-risk pregnancies and propose appropriate interventions to facilitate healthy births.
Read the following scenario and then respond to the questions below:
You are a psychologist working in a women’s unit for a substance abuse agency as a member of the treatment team. Your specific job is to conduct individual sessions with clients who have problems that are untreatable in group therapy. Typically, you provide mental health services for clients who do not have another psychologist, and your clients are very needy. In fact, virtually all of your clients are unemployed and are quite poor.
During Maria’s appointment, you learn that she has just discovered that she is 6 weeks pregnant, and despite her continued drinking and use of cigarettes, she thinks that her baby will be healthy. The agency nurse asked you to talk to her about how her behaviors are likely endangering the baby. She has explained the physical problems, but Maria responds better to you. Maria does not understand how her tobacco and alcohol use, lack of sleep, poor nutrition, unprotected sex, and other risky behaviors might be dangerous to the embryo. Maria dropped out of high school as a sophomore and has a sixth grade reading level.
- What specific information from your Reading do you think is most important to introduce to Maria to help convince her to make some changes? Remember that you do not want to overwhelm her with complicated information and explanations.
- How would you approach Maria to help to educate her about pregnancy risks?
- What specific behavior changes does Maria have to make to help her baby to be healthy?
- What interventions would you suggest to Maria and the rest of the treatment team that will help to support the changes that she needs to make?
Next, read The African-American Extended Family article in your text, p.66, before responding to this Discussion.
As you have read and experienced, both biological and social influences affect your healthy development from birth. Much research has been conducted on the efficacy of extended family living. Children who live in these social structures often develop healthier psychosocial, social, and cognitive skills. Many cultures greatly value living within an extended family system as supportive and necessary for the successful nurturance of children, adolescents, and even young adults. Consider all of the information from your Reading as you respond to the following questions.
- How would you compare and contrast the advantages and disadvantages for living in an extended family versus single-family home?
- How influential is a child’s DNA or SES in predicting the future development of a newborn child?
- How can you use this knowledge to help your clients to make educated choices about prenatal and postnatal care for their children?