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Temperament in pediatric practice
with Stella Chess, MD
Clinical applications
Using temperament concepts with clients/patients
Prevention
Assessment
Intervention


Practitioners in several disciplines incorporate temperament concepts into their professional practices...
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 Clinical Practice and Temperament
 
Temperamental characteristics are important facets of child behavior and can be assessed and used for parent education and guidance by members of many professional groups
 
Clinical practice using information about temperament is dedicated to understanding of the importance of behavioral individuality in infants and children, and

application of information about temperament by parents and professionals to promote normal growth and development, and

avoidance of unnecessary labels and treatments in otherwise normal infants and childre
 
The modern study of temperament began with the work of Alexander Thomas, Stella Chess and associates in the New York Longitudinal Study (NYLS) in the late 1950's. This longitudinal research identified nine temperament characteristics that are present at birth and influence infant and child development in important ways throughout life. Unlike Jungian conceptions that measure personality, the NYLS temperament characteristics are assessed by looking at the behavioral style in the areas of a person's life(environment).

Since the 1950's hundreds of scientific studies of temperament have shown that temperament is an important factor in child growth, health and development. The nine characteristics are:
 
Activity level-the amount of physical motion exhibited during the day

Persistence-the extent of continuation of behavior with or without interruption

Distractibility-the ease of being interrupted by sound, light, etc unrelated behavior

Initial Reaction-response to novel situations, whether approaching or withdrawing

Adaptability-the ease of changing behavior in a socially desirable

Mood-the quality of emotional expression, positive or negative

Intensity- the amount of energy exhibited in emotional expression

Sensitivity-the degree to which the person reacts to light, sound, etc.

Regularity-the extent to which patterns of eating, sleeping, elimination, etc. are consistent or inconsistent from day to day.
 
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   Examples:
 
Preventing Problems
Dr. Jim Cameron's
program provided anticipatory guidance to predict behavioral issues...

Studies showed that the process helped families and conserved professional time.
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Taming a preschooler
A Case Study
More than 10 percent of preschool teachers have reported expelling a preschool-aged child. Grounds for expulsion were largely aggression toward other children-hitting, kicking, biting, hair-pulling...
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Temperament & ADHD
Understanding normal variations
Many children show a few signs of attentional or activity problems. Most don't have ADHD.
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"At-risk" infants
Barbara Medoff-Cooper
Babies who are ill or need surgery
may have a 'difficult' homecoming.
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