Upskilling 

Understanding Infant Mental Health & Development Microcredential

The COVID-19 pandemic has amplified health inequality and let to the disproportionate suffering of vulnerable groups. Infants and their caregivers have been isolated under chronic stress during the pandemic and we are witnessing the effects of this on a global level. The need for support is beginning to overtake the supply of those who can meaningfully provide the level of support required, that is where we see this microcredential’s potential. The theoretical foundations of this microcredential will shape the learners understanding of a child’s context and provide a framework for identifying need and lay the groundwork for formulating intervention. The application of the knowledge gained through studying this course will improve the confidence and competence of learners and enhance a workforce.

  • Microcredential: 10 weeks, time commitment: 8-10 hours per week
    Fully flexible, online learning with content available 24/7
    Course cost: £799
    Teaching starts: 26 September 2022

Why this course

This microcredential will be a fascinating insight into the world of the baby and young child. It will help learners develop a grounding in early child development, both neurotypical and neurodiverse, and begin to understand the interplay between developmental and environmental factors in ensuring the child reaches their full potential. The crucial role of early relationships, and support for early relationships, will be a key focus. By the end of this course, students will be able to:

  • Critically reflect on personal and professional experiences.
  • Synthesise and critically appraise scientific literature informed by the bioecological model to describe how aspects of pre- and post-birth environments influence child development.
  • Critically evaluate scientific literature to identify factors that affect relationships between infants and caregivers and discuss how early relationships impact developmental trajectories.
  • Communicate learning in a concise and engaging manner.

Course structure

This microcredential is divided into 11 weeks of online teaching. Each week will have written, filmed and interactive quiz elements to allow learners to engage with the teaching materials and consolidate learning.

Weeks 1-5 will cover an introduction to studying at the University of Glasgow; Introduction to infant mental health; Child development; The Child's world; The competence of the newborn; and Parent, Child, Relationships. At week 5, learners will have the opportunity to complete their first assessment worth 30% of their final grade. This assessment will take the form of a written reflective piece.

Weeks 6-10 will cover The impact of physical and neurodevelopmental conditions on the developing child; Early identification and ESSENCE; Adverse Childhood Experiences Risk & Resilience; and the Child's jouney, a consolidation of learning. Week 11 will allow learners the opportunity to complete their final assessment worth 70% of their course grade. This assessment will take the form of an analysis and response to case vignette, presented via powerpoint. Assessments are optional, though learners should note that they will not receive course credits if they do not submit assessments.

Course team

This course is designed and delivered by Dr Fiona Sim and a team of expert clinicans and academics from the field of Infant Mental Health and development: Prof Helen Minnis; Dr Lucy Thompson, Dr Christine Puckering; Dr Nashwa Matta; Dr Fiona Turner; Dr Jason Lang. Dr Fiona Sim: Fiona is a Teaching Associate at the University of Glasgow. Her research interests focus on infancy and early childhood, with a specialism in early identification of neurodevelopmental difficulties in the preschool years. Prof Helen Minnis: Helen is Professor of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at the University of Glasgow and has affiliations with the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience at King’s College London, the Universities of Aalborg and Aarhus, Denmark and with the Gillberg Neuropsychiatry Centre, Gothenburg, Sweden. Helen has had a longstanding clinical and research focus on the psychiatric problems of abused and neglected children. Dr Christine Puckering: Christine is a clinical, forensic and neuropsychologist with more than forty years experience of working with parents and children. Her particular interest is in very early relationships and how these can be supported particularly when families are under stress. She is Programme Founder for Mellow Parenting, a charity which has developed interventions from pregnancy to pre-school based primarily on attachment theory. Dr Lucy Thompson: Lucy is a Senior Research Fellow at the University of Aberdeen, and an Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Glasgow. She is affiliated with the Gillberg Neuropsychiatry Centre at Gothenburg University, Sweden. Her research interests include infant and maternal mental health, parenting support, and early years screening and support for neurodevelopmental problems. Dr Nashwa Matta: Nashwa is a neonatologist within the NHSGG&C and an honorary clinical senior lecturer at the University of Glasgow. Her special interests are in child development and neurodisability. Nashwa is committed to improving outcomes for infants and is a NICE guideline committee member and a member of the Scottish Governments Perinatal Infant Mental Health implementation and advisory group. Dr Fiona Turner: Fiona is a Research Associate and Health Psychologist in academic CAMHS at the University of Glasgow (MVLS). She leads on qualitative research/process evaluation involved in randomised controlled trials of complex interventions in the areas of infant mental health, child maltreatment, foster care and neurodiversity.  Dr Jason Lang: Jason is a Consultant Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist with a special interest in neurodevelopmental conditions.  His research interests include co-occurrence in neurodevelopmental conditions and environmental adaptations for children with neurodevelopmental conditions.

Course alteration or discontinuation
The University of Glasgow endeavours to run all courses as advertised. In exceptional circumstances, however, the University may withdraw or alter a course. For more information, please see: Student contract.

Career prospects

This course is for anyone interested in or currently working with infants and children. Specific roles which would be enhanced by this learning include: Psychology graduates; Medical students; Social workers; Speech and Language Therapists; Occupational therapists; Educators (early years, primary and further); paediatric healthcare workers; Health visitors; Paediatricians; Psychiatrists and Psychologists. This course will be an essential building block of infant mental health skill development for a wide range of learners and practitioners. It will provide a helpful foundation for those wishing to progress to more advanced infant mental health training or into the exciting newly developed Infant Mental Health services within Scotland.

Entry requirements

A relevant degree, professional qualification or professional experience. If your first language is not English, you must have a valid IELTS score of 6.5 with no less than 6.0 in any band or an equivalent English language qualification.

How to apply

This course costs £799. Learners will get full access to course content, plus UofG Student resources and support. All learners will receive a HEAR Transcript to use to evidence their Continued Professional Development. Learners who successfully pass the course assessment will also gain 10 credits (this is optional).

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