Side by Side

Past Events and Speakers


Marie Kanne Poulsen, PhD
“California Early Start: Challenges and Springboards in Early Intervention”

Shared moments of emotional connection between mother and child provide the foundation for healthy social and emotional functioning. Early Start as a system of care needs to address the well-being of the family and each member of the dyad to ensure quality attachment and subsequent child readiness to cope with the developmental and behavioral expectations of their cultural community. Challenges and impending springboards will be addressed.

Ed Tronick, PhD
“Children’s Making of Meaning of Their Self in Relation to the World of People, Things, and Their Own Self”

Humans make meaning about themselves in relation to the world of people, the inanimate world and to their own self. These meanings are held within each individual’s states of consciousness which are expanded when individuals in meaningful exchanges form dyadic states of consciousness. Failing to make meaning about one’s self in relation to the world of people and things is a psychological catastrophe, a trauma. Importantly, the meaning about ourselves in the world is made at multiple brain and body – psychobiological – levels. Each of these multiple levels of meaning is affected by stressful and traumatic experiences. New research on infants using the still-face from my laboratory on genetics, physiology, emotions, epigenetics and caretaker-child interactions will be presented to exemplify this psychobiological conceptualization. For example, research on the embodiment of stressful experiences in infants’ cardiac reactivity and their experiential learning of unique relational strategies to overcome stress. Implications for therapeutic interventions will be suggested. The talk will use video tapes of the still-face in infants and children and other contexts will be used to illustrate my thinking.

William Arroyo, MD
“Prevention Opportunities Through Community Collaboration”

Resources in unserved and underserved communities are very limited. Families struggle to make ends meet. Poverty is a well Investigated variable that serves as a potential risk factor for a wide array of health problems beginning in utero, including adverse impacts on the developing brain. Other factors such as early childhood education, adequate nutrition, avoidance of neurotoxins, and policies that are responsive to the needs of young children and their families can mitigate many risk factors during this early period of human development. Collaboration among various sectors can assist young families achieve healthy development and well-being for its youngest members.

Marian Williams, PhD
“Integrating Social-Emotional Needs of Young Children within Early Intervention Services: Practical Approaches to Common Challenges”

This presentation will focus on a range of approaches to meeting the social-emotional needs of children ages birth through 3 years within the context of the early intervention service system. Young children with developmental delays often have co-existing social-emotional and behavioral challenges. Three key areas of need will be addressed, with practical strategies that are useful to early intervention providers and family members: (1) Recognizing the earliest signs of social-emotional development and attachment as the foundation for all areas of development; (2) Supporting bilingual language development in young children, and the implications for social-emotional development; and (3) Challenging behaviors in young children: a developmental, family-centered, trauma-informed approach to increase independence and engagement in therapy.

Marian Williams, PhD
“Families and Early Interventionists Working Together to Help Young Children with Social-Emotional Needs: Practical Approaches to Common Challenges”

This presentation will focus on helping young children with social-emotional and behavioral needs as part of their early intervention services. Three key areas of need will be addressed, with practical strategies that are useful to early intervention providers and family members: (1) social-emotional development as the foundation for all development; (2) supporting young children to build family relationships through bilingual language development; and (3) challenging behaviors in young children: how parents can support engagement in early intervention.

Marian E. Williams, PhD
“What’s Happening to Me? Young Children and Their Families Coping with Medical Experiences”

Dr. Williams will discuss how developmental delays in young children often occur together with early medical challenges. Children may have experienced birth complications, prematurity, stays in the neonatal intensive care unit, painful medical procedures, and separations from their parents due to medical needs. These stressful experiences can impact the whole family—parents, grandparents, siblings, and all who care for the baby. Dr. Williams will address the ways that medical experiences may impact families of young children, ways that children and families cope, and strategies leading to resilience and hope.

Richard Cohen, PhD
“Celebrating Our Whole Child: They Are More Than Their Disability; And We Are More Than the Chauffeur”

As parents of children with disabilities, it’s so easy to get caught up in all the issues around the disability from the very specific – What intervention should we choose? – to the tactical – How can I get him to all these sessions? – to the long-term - Who will care for him when we can’t? It’s easy to forget that each of our children is more than the disability; she or he is a whole child with the same needs for love and connection as any other child. Today is a day about relationships, a day to remember that whole child and celebrate. It’s also a day to remember that it’s that relationship that will last after the OT and the PT have left. So a central part of our job is to use our providers’ expertise to develop skills and confidence that will carry us through.

Richard Cohen, PhD
“Helping Our Children with Disabilities Develop Social and Emotional Well-Being”

All of us as parents of children with disabilities become very focused on the disability. But our children are much more than their disabilities. And in fact, much of anyone’s success in life is grounded in their social and emotional competence. And what do we mean by social and emotional competence? Zero To Three has a very useful three-part definition that includes:
the ability to recognize, express, and regulate emotions; the ability to form close attachments; and the ability to explore the world and learn. That last part can be a problem for us. We want our children to learn, of course. The world is a very scary place which can be hard on children who are different. But if we want them to achieve everything they can, we have to learn to manage our fears and help them develop the skills they will need to explore.

Adriana Molina, LMFT
“Early Childhood System of Care: Why Transdisciplinary Care is Vital to Child Well-Being”

Throughout the Nation, we see more and more people recognizing and talking about the specific needs of young children and the importance of supporting the first three years of development and Early Intervention efforts. The challenge for families with young children is that each discipline has a different point of view, a different funding source and a different idea of what will support optimal development for young children. Working in a System of Care allows us to bring a team of transdisciplinary service providers who partner with families to ensure that we provide trauma and developmentally informed services that improve long-term outcomes for young children.

Bruce Perry, MD, PhD
“The Power of Early Childhood Experiences to Shape Risk and Resilience”

The human brain has remarkable malleability during development. Experiences of early childhood shape the developing brain by providing a range of social, emotional, motor and cognitive experiences that will literally impact the number and density of synaptic connections, neurons and neural networks in the infant brain. The major provider of these early experiences are the primary carers. This presentation will discuss the vital importance of supporting and fostering brain development from infancy throughout early childhood by supporting the carers. The importance of designing care–giving strategies and support programs for new parents cannot be underestimated. Dr. Perry’s address will focus on the importance of positive human relationships as well as providing consistent, nurturing, structured, and enriching environments for children.

Barbara Stroud, PhD
“Keys to Supporting Emotional Health in Children”

Emotional health impacts social interactions, learning, and behavior management. Learn how to support your child’s emotional development with simple steps everyone can follow. When you learn how to acknowledge and shape the emerging emotional experiences of your young children, they develop a healthy strategic to manage emotions across the life span.

Kristie Brandt, CNM, NP, MS, DNP
“The Wonder of Development: The Brain, Regulation, Relationships…and More”

This session will be all about the wonder of child development and the varied pace unique to each child. The session will start with early brain development and how children develop the ability to regulate their emotions and sensory experiences. Things that both help and can perturb this process will be discussed, along with therapeutic strategies to support children when they face developmental delays, trauma, medical conditions, or other developmental challenges. The impact of loving relationships to optimize development and help children thrive will be highlighted, and throughout the presentation, video will be shown and discussed to support key concepts.

Leslie Anne Ross, PsyD
“Using the NCTSN 12 Core Concepts for Understanding Childhood Trauma to Enhance Provider Wellness”

The NCTSN 12 Core Concepts, developed by the NCTSN Core Curriculum Task Force on Child Trauma, serve as lenses to better understand the complexity of the trauma experience and provide a roadmap for implementing best practice in trauma-informed care for children and families. This session will focus on Core Concept 12 to better understand the impact of Secondary Traumatic Stress on child-serving providers through a broader trauma-informed lens. An overview of the occupational risks associated with working with children and families who have experienced trauma, will provide an opportunity for participants to identify their own vulnerabilities and strengths, and enhance their capacity to sustain high levels of resilience in this challenging field. Highlighting Core Concept 12 will create opportunities to enhance STS response and recovery in direct service providers, parent partners, consumers, and advocates.

Chandra Ghosh Ippen, PhD
“The Ripple Effect: An Integrative Framework for Enhancing Trauma-Informed Practice Across Systems”

This workshop presents an integrative framework for understanding and communicating across systems about how trauma can affect a child, a family, and a system. The framework was developed by Chandra Ghosh Ippen, Christopher Layne, and Bob Pynoos of the National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN) and is adapted from core trauma concepts identified and ratified by the NCTSN Core Curriculum on Childhood Trauma Task Force. The Ripple Effect translates complex trauma concepts using metaphor, visual models, common language, and rich case example and shows: 1) the domains of functioning affected by trauma; 2) the mechanisms through which trauma affects development, and 3) intervention pathways. This workshop offers foundational trauma knowledge for providers learning about evidence-based trauma treatments and highlights ways to share trauma theory with family members and across systems (e.g. schools, child welfare workers, mental health, medical practitioners, police) as we work jointly to lessen the impact of trauma exposure.

Chandra Ghosh Ippen, PhD
“Under the Wave: Understanding the Impact of Stress and Trauma and Finding Pathways for Healing”

Dr. Ghosh Ippen, a leading expert in child trauma, and our featured speaker, will use stories and metaphor to address questions such as Do infants, toddlers, and preschoolers really remember traumatic experiences? Does experiencing stress and trauma affect babies even though they are so young? How does trauma and other negative experiences impact and interfere in development? How can we create healing spaces and support recovery in their young children, and in the family unit?

Jessica Richards, MS, MSW, LCSW
“Harnessing the Aha: Reflections from the Field”

That “aha” moment after weeks or months struggling to help a child is such sweet
satisfaction. We entered this work to “help” but often we are stuck and not seeming to move forward at all or even moving backward! Jessica Richards, MS, MSW, LCSW calls upon her fifteen years of experience working with complex children and their families to share her “aha” moments. These gems from the trenches were derived from her background working at an inpatient Child Psychiatric Unit, as a home-based early childhood therapist in South Central Los Angeles, assessing children with developmental differences and providing treatment to children and families with numerous diagnoses. She is passionate about the work she does and eager inspire your next “aha!”

Connie Lillas PhD, MFT, RN
“Bridging the Gaps Between Infant Mental Health and Early Intervention: A Unifying Framework”

The bifurcation into “infant mental health” and “early intervention” professions has caused those working with disabilities to be less versed with socio-emotional development and those working with trauma and socio-emotional concerns to be less versed in developmental delays and disabilities. This unfortunate division creates false assumptions, making it challenging to realize that there are unifying principles that underlie both fields. Those with developmental delays and disabilities, having sensitive nervous systems to begin with, are exceedingly vulnerable to being bullied and traumatized; those experiencing neglect and abuse are most vulnerable to developmental delays due to the impact trauma has on early brain architecture. It is common, in fact, to have co-occurring challenges. Whether you are a practitioner from the disabilities field or from the trauma-informed care world, you will benefit from the presentation of Dr. Lillas’ five underlying principles that cut across both dimensions. These five principles contest the “status quo” approaches as to how our culture commonly views the meaning of infants and young children’s behaviors, how we engage with them, what we expect from them, and how we intervene. You will leave with valuable tools you can use immediately in how you assess and understand the priorities in your work with young children and their parents. Training will be integrated with video-based learning and application to oneself as a practitioner.

Connie Lillas, PhD, MFT, RN
“Looking Beneath the Surface: New Tools for Challenging Behavior”

Raising children is challenging work. Raising children with unique and special needs poses exceptional challenges. Dr. Lillas will share hands-on tools to reinterpret what challenging behaviors mean and develop individualized approaches for your child. Dr. Lillas brings a wealth of expertise, both as a professional working with complex cases, and as a parent raising a high-risk twin with special needs. Regardless of your child’s unique profile or diagnosis(es) this training will provide a new lens and path. Dr. Lillas is an infant mental health and early intervention specialist with over 40 years of combined experience in high-risk maternal-child nursing, family systems, and developmental psychoanalysis. She is also the Founder and President of the NeuroRelational Framework (NRF) Institute-Research to Resilience, an organization dedicated to building interdisciplinary communities to serve high-risk families, focused on the areas of trauma, stress, and resilience.