Etymology: L, pronare, to bend forward, profilare, to outline
a screening process that evaluates the probability of developmental problems in the early years of a child's life. Screening ideally begins during prenatal care and continues after birth. Several of the variables in the proneness profile that appear to be significant in selecting the infants who are at risk are the indicators of perinatal health of the mother and infant, especially complications of pregnancy, delivery, the neonatal period, and the puerperium; characteristics of the mother, especially her temperament, educational level, perception of the life situation, and perception of the infant; characteristics of the infant, including alertness, activity pattern, and responsiveness; and behaviors of the infant and caregiver as they interact. The proneness profile is followed by a developmental profile that assesses the current status of the infant and caregiver. Three areas to be considered are characteristics of the infant, including adaptation and response to the environment, the ability to give interpretable cues, and the developmental progress as compared with established norms; characteristics of the caregiver, including adaptation to the new infant, sensitivity to cues from the infant, and techniques for relieving distress; and the healthful quality of the environment, including health, safety, comfort, and stimulation.