TTAC Webinar: Supporting Families and Caregivers of Infants and Young Children Affected by the COVID-19 Pandemic

TTAC hosted a webinar titled Supporting Families and Caregivers of Infants and Young Children Affected by the COVID-19 Pandemic presented by Gerard Costa, Ph.D. & Joy D. Osofsky, Ph.D.

In this webinar, Drs. Joy Osofsky and Gerard Costa addressed the impact of the changes in our world and personal lives brought about by COVID-19. Special attention was given to the ways in which infants, toddlers and preschoolers are affected when their usual routines are disrupted and their ability to manage stress and stay regulated are compromised. These changes were described through developmental and relationship-based perspectives, highlighting the critical importance of establishing new routines to support co-regulating, attuned, and responsive relationships.

Insights from the brain sciences were described to better understand the ways in which infants, children and adults may react around the fearful climate of COVID-19. Strategies for speaking with, supporting, and playing with infants and young children were presented. Importantly, the need for self-care of the adults in the lives of the children was addressed.

Webinar Resources:

About the Presenters

Gerard Costa, Ph.D. is the founding director (2011- ) of the Center for Autism and Early Childhood Mental (CAECMH) at Montclair State University (NJ). He was also founding director and led the YSC Institute for Infant and Preschool Mental Health (2000-2011). He is a Professor in the Department of Teaching and Learning in the College of Education and Human Services and is a member of the faculty of the Infant and Early Childhood Development (IECD) Ph.D. program at Fielding University (formerly the ICDL Graduate School). He serves as a trustee and President of the Interdisciplinary Council on Development and Learning, founded by Drs. Stanley Greenspan and Serena Wieder, and served as a consultant to ZERO TO THREE for the past 20 years. He is one of the first 16 “Expert Faculty” selected by ZERO TO THREE in the new DC: 0-5 (2016) Classification system. He sits on several state and non-profit boards and was appointed by two New Jersey Governors to serve on the New Jersey Council for Young Children, where he headed the Infancy and Early Childhood Mental Health committee. He received his Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology from Temple University. He was one of the first 16 recipients of the DIR certificate by Dr. Stanley Greenspan and Dr. Serena Wieder, and is a trained faculty member in the Brazelton Touchpoints Model. He holds a “Self-Reg” Certificate from the MEHRIT Center in Canada, led by Dr. Stuart Shanker and the CAECMH is the first licensed “Self-Reg” Center in the United States. He holds an endorsement as an Infant Mental Health Clinical Mentor, through the New Jersey Association for Infant Mental Health and Michigan Association for Infant Mental Health. He led a 4-year Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health systems development project in partnership with Child Development Services of Wyoming and the Wyoming Developmental Disabilities Division and is the principal author of a 15 module Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health training curriculum. He led a two yearlong training and consultation project with 25 Infant Mental Health mentors with South Dakota Voices for Children, and he led a strategic planning initiative with the Missouri Association for Infant Mental Health-Early Childhood. Since 2018 he has served at the Coordinator of the Northeast Regional Terrorism and Disaster Coalition, under the leadership of Drs. Joy and Howard Osofsky as part of the Terrorism and Disaster Coalition for Child and Family Resilience (TDC4), a center in the National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN). at Louisiana State University. He is past president and am Emeritus member of the New Jersey Association for Infant Metal Health. He has presented keynotes, workshops and trainings at hundreds of events and programs. Dr. Costa has been honored with numerous awards including the Christian Kjeldsen Champion for Children Award by the NJ Child Care Advisory Council, the Lucille Weistuch Early Childhood Special Education Award, by the New Jersey Division for Early Childhood (NJDEC), and the Golden Bell Leadership Award, by the New Jersey Mental Health Association. He is a New Jersey licensed psychologist, has a consulting and training practice, and is the author of articles and book chapters on autism and infant mental health. He has presented on these topics in 27 states and 10 countries.

Joy D. Osofsky, Ph.D. is a clinical and developmental psychologist, Paul J. Ramsay Endowed Chair of Psychiatry and Barbara Lemann Professor of Child Welfare at Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center in New Orleans where she is also Director of the Harris Infant Mental Health Center. Dr. Osofsky has published widely related to children and trauma including: Trauma in the Lives of Children, Two Volumes (Praeger, 2018),Treating Infants and Young Children Impacted by Trauma: Interventions that Promote Healthy Development (American Psychological Association, 2017), Clinical Work with Traumatized Young Children (Guilford, 2011), Young Children and Trauma: Interventions and Treatment (Guilford, 2004),Children in a Violent Society (Guilford, 1997), and Questions Every Judge and Lawyer Should Ask About Infants and Toddlers in the Child Welfare System (National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges, 2018). She is past president of the World Association for Infant Mental Health and of Zero to Three: National Center for Infants, Toddlers, and Families and is currently the Clinical Consultant and on the Leadership team for Zero to Three for the Safe Babies Court Team Program. She played a leadership role in the Gulf Region following Hurricane Katrina and the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and was Clinical Director for Child and Adolescent Initiatives for Louisiana Spirit following Hurricane Katrina. She currently serves as Co-Principal Investigator for the NCTSN Center, Terrorism, Critical Incidents, and Disaster Coalition for Child and Family Resilience. In 2007, Dr. Osofsky received the Sarah Haley Award for Clinical Excellence in trauma work from the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies and in 2010 and she was honored with a Presidential Commendation from the American Psychiatric Association for her work in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. In 2014, she was recognized with the Reginald Lourie Award for leadership in infant mental health and outstanding contributions to the health and welfare of children and families.