New York Association of Early Childhood and Infant Psychologists (NYAECIP): Background, History, and Current Status

Article excerpt

The New York Association of Early Childhood and Infant Psychologists (NYAECIP) is a professional organization, which was created in 1997. Prior to the creation of this professional organization, a number of New York City psychologists interested in infant and early childhood psychological issues were brought together by Barbara Mowder, Pace University-New York City, to begin discussing the need for a professional group. These early discussions, which occurred in 1996, led to a number of psychologists (e.g., Donna Abel, Vincent Alfonso, Gilbert Foley, Allison Jeffer, Carol Korn, Carol Lidz, Barbara Mowder, Yvonne Rafferty, Roslyn Ross, Flo Rubinson, Nancee Santandreu, Jay Silverstein, Mark Sossin, Melissa Tarnofsky, and Linda Zaintz) meeting at Pace University-New York City. The group agreed that psychological practice with young children and their families is distinctive from practice with older children. Further, this group posited that the distinctive knowledge base, assessment requirements, competencies and underlying values associated with service delivery to young children are unique. The early NYAECIP participants also maintained that new developments in developmental research, interventions, and pediatric and educational policy demand continuous attention from psychologists to contribute to and remain current in this dynamic area. Therefore, the participants decided to create a group that would address issues associated with this specialty within psychology. Ultimately, in 1997, this group of early childhood and infant psychologists approved by-laws for a new professional organization specifically developed to meet the needs of infant and early childhood psychologists in the New York City area--NYAECIP.

There are many organizations throughout New York State through which members address psychological issues related to young children, but these organizations do so within specific divisions or through time-limited task forces (e.g. New York State Psychological Association, New York Association of School Psychologists, Zero to Three). We know of no professional group that welcomes psychologists with varied training to address solely the burgeoning specialization of infants and young children. With this dearth in mind, the specific purposes of this organization were clearly outlined and appear in the organization's by- laws, including: (a) providing a vehicle for networking within early childhood and infant psychology; fostering research, meetings, writing, and interactions among those interested in early childhood and infant psychology; (b) establishing an identity for early childhood and infant psychology in the New York metropolitan area; (c) working toward the establishment of early childhood and infant psychology as a recognized specialty within our own profession (e.g., APA); (d) acting as a voice for early childhood and infant psychology (e.g., developing policy statements, writing white papers, and advocating for young children, parents, and early childhood and infant psychology); (e) acting as an information and communication vehicle for those interested in early childhood and infant psychology developments, issues, research, and training; and (f) assisting in the development of internship sites for students to develop expertise in early childhood and infant psychology.

During the Spring of NYAECIP's first year, members raised a number of concerns pertaining to early childhood and infant psychology which might be addressed by the group at future meetings, in focus/working groups, or in some other way pertinent to the goals of the organization. The topics raised at the initial meeting, held at Pace University-New York City, included curriculum issues, assessment issues, research issues, treatment issues, and legislative issues.

Following adoption of the by-laws, the first NYAECIP meeting was held. The first elected officers were Barbara Mowder as President, Gilbert Foley as President-Elect, Nancee Santandreu as Secretary, Florence Rubinson as Treasurer, and Jay Silverstein as Member-at-Large. …