Intersections Between Infant/Early Childhood Mental Health and Autism: Identification and Intervention

Intersections Between Infant/Early Childhood Mental Health and Autism: Identification and Intervention


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Archived Recording
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Wednesday, November 15, 2017
1:00 p.m. - 2:30 p.m. ET
Location: Webinar

Webinar Descriptions:

Infants and young children develop across intersecting domains, and effective assessments and interventions recognize and embrace these complexities. This webinar will focus on the intersection between infant and early childhood mental health and autism spectrum disorders (ASD) in young children, with a focus on clinical practice. We will explore a model for interdisciplinary assessment and diagnosis of ASD in young children within an infant mental health framework. Clinical utility of the Diagnostic Classification: 0 - 5 for children with co-occurring ASD and mental health needs will be explored. Once a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder is made in a young child, the consideration for therapies must begin. Most times, the recommendation is to pursue applied behavior analysis (ABA). However, that may not be the most appropriate intervention for a very young child. Parents and professionals often have concerns about the intensity of the ABA, and struggle to include key caregivers into the therapeutic process. Luckily, therapeutic strategies geared towards young children and the parent- child relationship do exist. A brief introduction of infant and toddler mental health, the early start Denver model, and floor time will be introduced along with some key guidance to ensure that the focus remains on the parent child relationship while assisting young children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder develop skills necessary to fill in gaps in developmental areas.

A Webinar from AUCD's Autism and Mental Health Aspects of I/DD Special Interest Groups


Marian E. Williams

Marian E. Williams, PhD, is a licensed psychologist, Associate Professor of Clinical Pediatrics at the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California (USC), and co-director of Interdisciplinary Training at the USC University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDD) at Children's Hospital Los Angeles. She is the Program Area Lead for the Early Childhood Mental Health program at CHLA, directing infant-family mental health programs that provide assessment and intervention to more than 300 young children each year. She directs the Stein Tikun Olam Infant-Family Mental Health Initiative, focusing on services and training to meet the needs of infants with special health care and developmental needs. Dr. Williams is an expert trainer for DC:0 - 5 for ZERO TO THREE, and is endorsed by the California Center for Infant-Family and Early Childhood Mental Health as a Reflective Practice Mentor. Her special areas of interest include access to infant-family mental health services for underserved populations; services for young children with co-occurring mental health needs, developmental disabilities, and special healthcare needs; early identification of autism spectrum disorders in young children; and interdisciplinary training and program development.


Christine M. RachesChristine M. Raches, PsyD, HSPP is a clinical psychologist and Board Certified Behavior Analyst at the Riley Child Development Center- LEND Program. She participates on an interdisciplinary team that conducts evaluations on children with suspected neurodevelopmental disabilities, behavioral disorders, or developmental delays. She supervises graduate level trainees. Dr. Raches is also an early intervention specialist, providing psychological evaluations and ongoing services in home and clinic based settings. Dr. Raches is certified in the Early Start Denver Model (an early intensive intervention for young children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder or for young children who are at risk for Autism Spectrum Disorder) and provides therapy and consultation related to this model.