Every day in a child’s life is important. Their early years are the foundation for growth and development, and what they learn during those years affects the rest of their lives. That’s why we asked local experts in the field of early childhood to share their knowledge. Click on a topic below to watch a video containing tips and advice you can use with your child.
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About The Experts
Susan Spieker is Director of the Center on Infant Mental Health and Development at the University of Washington, a partnership between the School of Nursing and the Center on Human Development and Disability. She is a Professor of Family and Child Nursing at UW. Dr. Spieker is Principal Investigator on a new $2.3 million award from the National Institute of Mental Health, Promoting Infant Mental Health in Foster Care. This five-year, community-based project in Pierce County, Washington, will test the effectiveness of the Promoting First Relationships training and intervention program with foster care toddlers and their careivers. Promoting Infant Mental Health in Foster Care is designed to build community capacity to deliver infant mental health interventions and services to foster families. It will include foster parents and kin caregivers (licensed and unlicensed) of toddlers who have experienced multiple placements in foster care, or who entered foster care for the first time after 10 months of age.
Jean Kelly is Co-Director of the Center on Infant Mental Health & Development at the University of Washington, a partnership between the School of Nursing and the Center on Human Development and Disability. She is also Professor of Family and Child Nursing and Director of NCAST-AVENUW, an organization that develops and disseminates research-based products and training to provide nurturing environments for young children. Dr. Kelly’s research focus is on how early caregiving affects children’s development, including children at high social risk, those diagnosed with delays and/or disabilities, and typically developing children. She developed and published a research- and practice-based preventive intervention program to enhance caregiver-child relationships, both in home-visiting and center-based programs. She also directs Promoting First Relationships, a prevention program dedicated to promoting young children’s social-emotional development through responsive, nurturing caregiver-child relationships. She is chair of the Center on Human Development and Disability Early Intervention Task Force and is on the governing board of the Washington State Child Care Resource and Referral Network.
Elizabeth Nelson is the Director of Research for the Center on Infant Mental Health and Development at the University of Washington. She earned her doctorate in Developmental Psychology from Harvard University. Dr. Nelson completed a research fellowship at Children’s Hospital in Boston, in partnership with the Harvard Graduate School of Education and Head Start, which focused on helping parents of young children overcome barriers to accessing mental health services. She has worked as a Child & Family Therapist at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, and at the Child Development Clinic in Holyoke, MA Her research interests are physiological & behavioral outcomes of attachment disruption, and programs that support parent-child attachment.