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Implications for practice

Given the delay in language, both receptive and expressive, in neglected / emotionally abused children, it is essential that all practitioners working with pre-school children are trained in normal child development


Important attachment disorders are recognised in young infants and toddlers and warrant formal evaluation by professionals trained in infant mental health, as many features described in neglected / emotionally abused children overlap with those found in children suffering from autistic spectrum disorder or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder


Careful observation and recording of the infant-carer interaction will help to identify neglected / emotionally abused toddlers at an early stage, enabling appropriate assessment and intervention


There are clearly identifiable features in the pre-school child who is being neglected and / or emotionally abused, thus it is incumbent upon all health practitioners working with these children to be aware of the indicators that they may identify


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