Developmental Perspectives in Context 1: From Perinatal to Youth

Developmental Perspectives in Context 1: From Perinatal to Youth

Level ~ Graduate Diploma
Availability ~ Semester 2

In this unit students will explore the developmental underpinnings of mental health. As health advocates, students will develop an understanding of how normal development, the interaction of environmental and biological factors, shapes mental and physical health for people across the lifespan. Knowledge and skills will be developed in working within a multidisciplinary team and across the community, including schools, children’s protection services and juvenile justice. This will include the assessment and management of children, youth and their families, in their specific social, cultural and spiritual context, across a broad range of ages, communities and disorders.

Topics to be addressed include normal development, the neurodevelopmental effects of early trauma and its impact on the individual’s developmental trajectory and what contributes to resilience. The neurodevelopmental disorders including autism spectrum disorder and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder; the principles or early intervention and youth-specific approaches; eating disorders, early psychoses and the more common disorders of childhood such as separation anxiety are also explored. The unit will challenge students to think critically about engaging with the recovery paradigm and its applicability in understanding and working with young people.


Learning Outcomes

By the end of this unit students will be able to use knowledge of development, mental illness and interventions relevant from infancy to youth, and the perinatal period, a developmental perspective, and reference to the student’s work setting and role in recovery oriented care to:

  • Demonstrate the ability to formulate an integrated understanding of the factors contributing to a child, adolescent or youth and families presentation in common developmentally relevant crises, and the appropriate application of consent, mental health and related legislation.
  • Construct ethical and appropriate approaches to engagement, assessment and diagnosis with people of relevant ages and their families that demonstrates an understanding of developmental stage, relevant cultural attitudes, beliefs and communication requirements.
  • Apply a systemic multidisciplinary approach to working with families, including basic concepts and skills of family therapy.
  • Analyse the impact of psychiatric disorders on families, carers and the needs of families with a relative affected by mental illness, including family psychoeducation, issues pertaining to confidentiality, family grief, culture, and violence.
  • Prioritise and synthesise information, and communicate this accurately and appropriately with a child or adolescent and their family in a challenging situation.
  • Critically apply knowledge of development from infancy to adolescence, including responses to trauma and development of resilience, to critique from a recovery perspective, mental health promotion, early intervention, and illness prevention programs.

Teaching Schedule
Topic 1 Introduction to Working with Children and Adolescents
Topic 2 Developmental Theories
Topic 3 Perinatal Psychiatry: Focus on the Infant
Topic 4 Preschool to Early Primary School
Topic 5 Families, Parenting and Communication Skills
Topic 6 Adolescent and Youth Psychiatry
Topic 7 Child Psychiatry in the Consultation-Liaison Setting
Topic 8 Perinatal Psychiatry–Focus on the Parent
Topic 9 OSCE Exam Workshop/End of Unit Wrap-Up