New York Association of Early Childhood and Infant Psychologists (NYAECIP): Background, History, and Current Status
Mowder, Barbara A., Rubinson, Florence, Journal of Early Childhood and Infant Psychology
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. Thus, NYAECIP developed in response to needs expressed by early childhood and infant psychologists in the New York City area.
One of the primary activities of NYAECIP has been the presentation of professional workshops and seminars. In accordance with our goal of establishing an identity for psychologists working with young children, the very first presentation, on May 19, 1997, was given by Dr. Carol S. Lidz who was Director of the School Psychology Program at Touro College at that time. The title of her presentation was Affirming the Role of Psychology in Early Childhood and Infant Psychology. Following this initial presentation on the role of psychology in the provision of psychological services to young children and their families, a follow-up meeting was planned for the next academic year. On February 6, 1998, Dr. Gil Foley, from Yeshiva University, moved the organization further toward its goal of establishing an identity by presenting a talk entitled, Psychology: Defining and Affirming Its Identity in Infant and Early Childhood Services. He, too, spoke to the importance of specially trained psychologists providing services to young children and their families.
The next presentation, on May 15, 1998, took a turn toward policy issues regarding services to young children. The two speakers were Sandra Ginsberg, Assistant Commissioner for Early Intervention Services, with the Department of Mental Health, Mental Retardation, and Alcoholism Services of New York City and Eleanor Greig Ukoli, the Director of Early Childhood and Elementary Education with the New York City Board of Education (now the New York City Department of Education). The topics covered included policy updates on early intervention services in New York City and the new Universal Pre-K initiatives. Later, in 1998, the issue of services to the early childhood bilingual psychological services came to the fore. On October 30, 1998, a number of presenters, including Dr. Emilia Lopez from Queens College, and Dr. Linda Shum from the Herbert G. Birch Early Childhood Center in Riverdale, addressed bilingual issues in providing services to young children and their families. The title of the presentation was Bilingual Issues in Services to Young Children.
The issue of bilingual services continued to be a theme for the next NYAECIP meeting on March 5, 1999. Three experts addressed the group in a presentation entitled, Bilingual Issues in Services to Young Children, Continued. The presenters included Dr. Graciela Carbajal from Pace University-New York City, Dr. Graciela Elizalde-Utnick from Brooklyn College, and Dr. Sara Nahari from Queens College. Later that spring, NYAECIP, in an effort to enhance collaborations with other early childhood professionals, held another conference entitled, Sensory Integration and Update on Universal Pre-K. Marie Anzalone from the Occupational Therapy Program at Columbia University shared her research as well as insights on collaborations between occupational therapists and psychologists. In addition, Eleanor Greig Ukoli, the Director of Early Childhood and Elementary Education, New York City Board of Education, returned to update members on the progress of Universal Pre-K in New York City.
The next conference returned to the issue of the provision of psychological services to young children and their families. That meeting, held on January 21, 2000, was entitled, The Role of the Psychologist in Entitling Children to Intervention Services. The speakers at this meeting included Dr. Vincent Alfonso from Fordham University, Roy Grant from Montefiore Hospital, Dr. Elizabeth Kucera from Mount Sinai Medical Center, and Dr. W. Thomas McMath from Just Kids Diagnostic and Treatment Center in Middle Island, New York. This meeting was followed by a presentation, on June 16, 2000, regarding approaches to treating autism, Comprehensive Approaches to the Diagnosis and Treatment of Autistic Spectrum Disorders of Relating and Communicating. Dr. Serena Wieder was scheduled to present, but was unable to at the last moment. In her place, there were a number of presenters presenting diverse points of view regarding services to children with autistic spectrum disorders. More specifically, Dr. Gerald Costa from the Institute for Infant and Preschool Mental Health Training at Youth Consultation Services, Dr. Gil Foley from Yeshiva University, Dr. Andrea Krauss from the Occupational Therapy Program of Touro College, and Dr. Jay Silverstein, the Director of Crossroads Preschool offered and discussed their unique perspectives.
The next presentation by Dr. Phyllis Cohen from the New York Institute for Psychotherapy and Training, and Dr. Phyllis Ackman from the Institute for the Clinical Study of Infants, Toddlers, and Families, on December 15, 2000, turned toward a specific intervention and was entitled, A Collaborative Treatment Using Videotape Feedback with a Depressed Mother and Her Infant. On March 16, 2001, Dr. Susan Vig, Director of the Early Intervention Training Institute with the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, offered her perspective on comprehensive assessment with a presentation entitled, Psychological Assessment of Preschool Children with Developmental Disabilities. Following this meeting, on June 1, 2001, Dr. Grace Elizalde-Utnick, Brooklyn College, revisited the issue of psychological services to bilingual young children and their families in her talk, Growing Up with Two Languages: Understanding Childhood Bilingualism and Its Implications for Assessment and Learning.
All of the NYAECIP meetings have been held at Pace University-New York City, which is in lower Manhattan, across the street from City Hall and south of the Brooklyn Bridge. On September 11, 2001, there was a horrific tragedy in lower Manhattan, the destruction of the World Trade Center Twin Towers and the death of those who could not escape from the scene. Pace University-New York City is three blocks from the World Trade Center site and the closest center for higher education in the area. The University was closed down for a significant period of time and, when re-opened, was part of the recovery effort. As soon after the tragedy as possible, NYAECIP responded and provided a presentation related to the events of 9/11. On November 16, 2001 NYAECIP offered the presentation, Helping Young Children and Families Cope with Trauma. Two renowned specialists on trauma, Dr. Joy Osofsky, and her spouse, Dr. Howard Osofsky, from Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center, spoke to a large assemblage of psychologists and others interested in trauma and young children.
Subsequent to 9/11, NYAECIP offered more presentations. On April 5, 2002, there were a number of presenters speaking on Psychology in Early Childhood Education and Care. More specifically, Susan Paula, Director of the Community Support Program at the Children's Hospital at Montefiore and Children's Health Fund, Roy Grant, the Director of Research and Evaluation at the Children's Hospital at Montefiore, Dr. Barbara Mowder, Director of Graduate Psychology Programs at Pace University, and Dr. Florence Rubinson, from the Graduate Program in School Psychology at Brooklyn College were the presenters. Each presenter spoke on a different topic related to providing psychological services within the early childhood arena.
One year after 9/11, NYAECIP continued focusing on issues related to children and trauma. On November 1, 2002, Dr. Susan Paula, from the Children's Health Fund and the Children's Hospital at Montefiore, presented The Role of the Psychologist in Promoting Recovery of Traumatized Young Children. More recently, on March 14, 2003, Dr. Judith Gardner and Dr. Bernard Karmel, from the New York State Institute for Basic Research in Developmental Disabilities, gave a talk on the Neurofunctional Approaches to Understanding the High-Risk Infant: Birth to 3 Years.
Finally, the most recent professional presentations have been on early childhood assessment and an instructional approach for children with autism. On February 6, 2004, Dr. Carol Lidz, in private practice in Philadelphia, offered A Guided Journey Through Early Childhood Assessment. And, Susan Julie McGill, the Director of Curriculum and Instruction for Herbert G. Birch Services, gave a presentation on TEACHH: A Classroom Approach for Children with Autism. Most recently, on December 3, 2004, Dr. Eleanor Grieg Ukoli, from the New York City Department of Education, distributed materials and presented an update on early childhood education initiatives in New York City.
Beyond offering professional presentations on a variety of topics related to early childhood and infant psychology, NYAECIP has been engaged with a number of research projects. More specifically, a research group within NYAECIP collected data on early childhood and infant psychology practice in New York State. One project collected data on the early childhood and infant psychology practices of New York State certified school psychologists and the other looked at similar issues for a sample of New York State licensed psychologists. The surveys were sent to certified school psychologists and licensed psychologists respectively. Each group was queried about their education, background experience, and training. Further, information was gathered regarding professional practice in early childhood and infant psychology; consultation and collaboration data was collected as well as information regarding continuing professional education needs and preferences. A number of doctoral students from the School-Clinical Child Psychology doctoral program at Pace University-New York City participated in these research efforts (e.g., Goliger, 2002; Kumar, 2002; Sweeney, 2002).
The research regarding the practices, background, and continuing education needs of NYS certified school psychologists and licensed psychologists resulted in the publication of two papers, one on the continuing education needs and another on the collaboration and consultation practices of NYS certified school psychologists. These research papers were published in the American Psychological Association's Division 16's (School Psychology) publication, The School Psychologist (Mowder, Goliger, Sossin, & Rubinson, 2003; Rubinson, Sweeny, Mowder, & Sossin, 2003). In addition, a number of professional presentations related to these research projects were presented at the annual meetings of the American Psychological Association and the National Association of School Psychologists, primarily by Drs. Mowder, Rubinson, and Sossin. Students assisting in this research included Scott Galligher, Iris Goliger, Todd Karlin, Neena Kumar, Christopher Quirk, and Karen Sweeney.
Most recently, NYAECIP has embarked on a number of additional projects. Currently, NYAECIP has a web-site at www.nyaecip.net and is working on a directory of early childhood and infant psychology practitioners. Further, NYAECIP is publishing this journal, the Journal of Early Childhood and Infant Psychology (JECIP), and looks forward to furthering the development of the early childhood and infant specialty area in psychology. The current president of NYAECIP is Dr. Anastasia Yasik, Pace University-New York City, and she has outlined a number of initiatives, including updating the NYAECIP web-site and proceeding with the development of an Early Childhood and Infant Psychologist Directory for the metropolitan New York area that would assist parents and educators in finding adequate services for young children.
NYAECIP looks forward to continuing to serve psychologists interested in young children and infants, as well as advocating for these youngsters and their families. One means, in particular, moves the scope of NYAECIP beyond the New York area and that is the journal initiative, the Journal of Early Childhood and Infant Psychology (JECIP). By starting this endeavor, NYAECIP is further meeting the established goals of the organization. More specifically, JECIP provides a medium for networking within early childhood and infant psychology and will foster research, writing, and other interactions among those interested in early childhood and infant psychology. Further, JECIP has the potential to help the field establish early childhood and infant psychology as a recognized specialty within our own profession and, most certainly, will act as a voice for early childhood and infant psychology by serving as an information and communication vehicle for those interested in early childhood and infant psychology developments, issues, research, and training.
Goliger, I. (2002). The continuing education interests of New York State early childhood school psychologists. (Doctoral Dissertation, Pace University-New York City, 2002), Dissertation Abstracts International, 63, 3007.
Kumar, N. (2002). The training and practice of early childhood school psychologists in New York State. (Doctoral Dissertation, Pace University-New York City, 2002), Dissertation Abstracts International, 63, 3854.
Mowder, B. A., Goliger, I., Sossin, K. M., & Rubinson, F. D. (2003). Continuing education interests and needs of New York State early childhood school psychologists. The School Psychologist, 57, 130-139.
Rubinson, F. D., Sweeny, K., Mowder, B. A., & Sossin, K. M. (2003). Collaborative practices of early childhood school psychologists in New York State. The School Psychologist, 57, 73-85.
Sweeney, K. (2002). School psychological training, practice and the use of consultation/collaboration within infant and early childhood psychology. (Doctoral Dissertation, Pace University-New York City, 2002). Dissertation Abstracts International, 63, 3499.
Barbara A. Mowder
Pace University-New York City
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Publication information: Article title: New York Association of Early Childhood and Infant Psychologists (NYAECIP): Background, History, and Current Status. Contributors: Mowder, Barbara A. - Author, Rubinson, Florence - Author. Journal title: Journal of Early Childhood and Infant Psychology. Volume: 1. Publication date: Annual 2005. Page number: 1+. © 2009 Pace University Dba: Pace University Press. COPYRIGHT 2005 Gale Group.
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