Many infants have problems with self-regulation (ie, the ability to regulate emotional state and organize a response to the environment) that resolve with maturity (eg, sleep disturbances, colic). In approximately 7% of infants, however, such problems persist beyond 6 months of age and are then considered to be maladaptive and may be representative of a regulatory disorder. Infants and young children with regulatory disorders have persistent behaviors (eg, irritability, impulsivity) that interfere with adaptive functioning and put them at an increased risk for a number of problems (eg, developmental delays). The task of identifying regulatory disorders and considering implications for intervention remains challenging. This article describes the current knowledge on regulatory disorder identification, diagnosis, and intervention planning.
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