Early Childhood Conference


(Down­load Con­fer­ence Brochure and/or Reg­is­tra­tion Form)

A woman tells this story about one of her pre­ma­ture twins who, begin­ning in infancy, man­i­fested sig­nif­i­cant symp­toms of dis­tress, namely, dif­fi­cul­ties with eat­ing, sleep­ing and calm­ing down.  Her son’s Pedi­a­tri­cian ini­tially diag­nosed his symp­toms as colic.  The pedi­a­tri­cian later diag­nosed her son’s symp­toms as reflux for which he was given med­ical sup­port.  When he con­tin­ued to have trou­ble, she was advised to wait and see because it was prob­a­bly a mat­u­ra­tional issue.  She con­sulted an Occu­pa­tional Ther­a­pist who observed that her son had audi­tory and vestibu­lar hyper-sensitivities.  A Speech and Lan­guage Pathol­o­gist con­se­quently con­firmed that her son had lan­guage delays.  A Devel­op­men­tal Behav­ior­ist observed that the woman and her hus­band were not par­ent­ing in synchrony—they were in “polar­ized posi­tions.”  They were giv­ing mixed sig­nals because one par­ent was not doing enough limit set­ting and the other was doing too much.

Each clin­i­cian was right and yet, her son con­tin­ued to suf­fer from dif­fi­cul­ties with eat­ing, sleep­ing and calm­ing down.  The clin­i­cians treat­ing the child did not talk to each other nor was any one clin­i­cian respon­si­ble or account­able for devel­op­ing a com­pre­hen­sive view of what was going on with the child.  There was no coor­di­nated plan for each treat­ment to build on and incor­po­rate the gains of the oth­ers.  The par­ents had to weave the clin­i­cal infor­ma­tion together for their selves.

Inter­dis­ci­pli­nary and trans­dis­ci­pli­nary col­lab­o­ra­tive inter­ven­tions exist but are often frag­mented in their approach because the var­ied dis­ci­plines lack a uni­fy­ing frame­work.  Men­tal health ser­vice providers are reg­u­larly asked to assess and treat a part of their client’s over­all prob­lem with­out an under­stand­ing of the com­pre­hen­sive treat­ment pic­ture.  Men­tal health ser­vice providers and their clients stand to ben­e­fit from the imple­men­ta­tion of a uni­fied framework—a shared, com­pre­hen­sive view of a child’s neu­ro­log­i­cal func­tion­ing within rela­tional con­text and described in a com­mon jargon.

Two vision­ar­ies in the fields of pedi­atric neu­ropsy­chol­ogy and infant men­tal health, Con­nie Lil­las, PhD, RN, LMFT and Janiece Turn­bull, PhD co-authors of Infant/Child Men­tal Health, Early Inter­ven­tion, and Relationship-Based Ther­a­pies:  A Neu­rore­la­tional Frame­work for Inter­dis­ci­pli­nary Prac­tice, have cre­ated such a frame­work.  Lil­las and Turnbull’s “Neu­rore­la­tional Frame­work” (NRF) uses brain devel­op­ment, as reflected in exter­nal behav­ior and informed by the con­text of pri­mary inter­per­sonal rela­tion­ships, as its uni­fy­ing con­cept.  The NRF has been hailed as a break­through in the fields of Early Inter­ven­tion, Infant Men­tal Health, and Assess­ment and Inter­ven­tion of Early Child­hood Disorders.

Dr. Lil­las will give the fea­tured pre­sen­ta­tion at the Third Annual Early Child­hood Con­fer­ence:  “Get the Big Pic­tureEarly Inter­ven­tion, Men­tal Health and Treat­ing the Whole Child,” (Down­load Con­fer­ence Brochure) pre­sented by Col­lier Child­care Resources (CCCR) Sat­ur­day, March 27, 2010 (Down­load Con­fer­ence Reg­is­tra­tion Form).  In her book with Turn­bull, Dr. Lil­las admits she is the mother in the story told above.  Dr. Lil­las had been an inno­va­tor in the men­tal health field before she became the mother of a child with a reg­u­la­tory dis­or­der; how­ever, when she found her­self and her child on the receiv­ing end of the system-wide frag­men­ta­tion, she found her “… pas­sion to unite the frag­ments that com­posed our dis­con­nected ser­vice deliv­ery sys­tem into a work­ing whole, once a flame, now burst into a bon­fire.”  I invite you to gather ‘round the fire for this excel­lent learn­ing opportunity.

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