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CERTIFICATE REQUIREMENTS

The University of Utah infant and early childhood mental health certificate will take 2 years to obtain. An overview of the certificate schedule is found below.

Course

Fall Year 1

Spring Year 1

Fall year 2

Spring Year 2

Core course: Introduction to Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health (IECMH)*

 

 

 

 

Foundations in IECMH

 

 

 

 

Children and relationships across cultures

 

 

 

 

Infant and early childhood observation

 

 

 

 

Communication

 

 

 

 

Capstone experience

 

 

 

 

*In this course, the requirements of “Development and Psychopathology in Infancy and Early Childhood” and “Education, Prevention, and Intervention in Infancy and Early Childhood” will be met.

Core course: Introduction to Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health

This year-long course is only available to students accepted into the infant and early childhood mental health certificate program. Students will discuss issues related development and psychopathology in early childhood. They will also discuss practicum placement and didactics to fulfill the early childhood mental health credential so that students could become employed in the early intervention field upon receiving the certificate. In this course students will learn about the core components of “Development and Psychopathology in Infancy and Early Childhood” and “Education, Prevention, and Intervention in Infancy and Early Childhood.”

View an example syllabus here.

Development and psychopathology in infancy and early childhood:

This component will be fulfilled by the “Introduction to Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health” course. Once students have learned about typical development in infancy and early childhood they will start to learn more about how to understand when development goes awry. This course will allow students to uncover developmentally relevant risk factors, learn more about how early life stress and trauma can impact development in infancy and early childhood, and be able to understand how early life stress may manifest behaviorally in infancy and early childhood. Specifically, we will review impacts of parental psychopathology, early life stress effects on infant brain, and physiological, emotional, and cognitive development. Students will be able to articulate how early life stress and exposure to parental psychopathology “get under the skin” to affect behavioral and mental health outcomes.

Education, Prevention and intervention in infancy and early childhood

This component will be fulfilled by the “Introduction to Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health” course. Students will be able to articulate the important elements of evidence-based prevention and interventions in infancy and early childhood. Students will learn to screen for developmental delays in infancy and early childhood, read and interpret assessment reports, communicate with parents the findings of assessment reports, and consult with parents, day care providers, and teachers  for avenues of intervention and prevention; Students will receive training in both written and oral communication to prepare them for writing clinical notes and reports and for communicating with therapeutic team members (e.g., social workers, pediatricians, and psychologists). Students will also learn to collaborate with community partners to promote infant and early childhood mental health.

Foundations in infant and early childhood mental health:

This semester-long course will provide students with a strong foundation in attachment theory; a review of typical cognitive, language, perceptual, social, and emotional development in early childhood within the United States and across cultures. Students will have a firm knowledge of typical infant and early childhood development so that they can be more aware of deviations from the “norm.” This requirement can be fulfilled through a number of existing courses in psychology and family and consumer studies:

ANTH 4133: Maternal and child health

ANTH 4450: The Biology of human growth and development

FCS 2600: Introduction to early childhood education

FCS 2610: Understanding children’s behavior

FCS 3215: Beginnings: Development during infancy & childhood

FCS 5940: Attachment theory across the lifespan

PSY 3215: Development in infancy

PSY 3260: Social development

Children and relationships across cultures

Students will be able to observe, assess, and understand how relationships form across cultures. Students will appreciate the importance of diversity, broadly defined, that consists of infant and child development across race, ethnicity, and socioeconomic contexts.

ANTH 4133: Maternal and child health

FCS 3370: Parenting across cultures

PSY 3215: Development in infancy

PSY 3260: Social development

FCS 3270: Parenting

Infant and early childhood observation

Infant and early childhood mental health professionals must be able to identify and describe typical and atypical behavior in infancy and early childhood in many different contexts, from a school to a home setting. Students will apply what they have learned in the first two core content areas to their observations of young children in their “natural” environments, at home, day care, and/or preschool. They will learn how to observe infants using structured observation, as well as how to document their findings and impressions. Students wishing to receive their Babywatch Early Intervention credential will complete 20 observations in the field with an early intervention provider. 

PSY 4890: Internships

FCS 2216: Interacting with infants and toddlers

FCS 2620: Child development practicum

FCS 5170:  Creativity in Young Children

Communication

These courses contribute to the written or oral expression of clinical and scientific material. Courses are required to include a significant writing or oral presentation in the field of infant and early childhood mental health

FCS 5250:  Theories of Human Development

PSY 3010: Research Methods in Psychology

WRTG 3012: Writing in the Social Sciences

WRTG 3014: Writing in the Sciences

WRTG 3015: Professional/Technical Writing

Capstone project/Field Experience

This year-long course will take place in Year 2. Over the course of one year, students will work and train with an agency that serves the developmental needs of young children. This capstone experience will demonstrate integration of infant and early childhood observation, clinical case conceptualization, and communication skills. The instructor will work with students to identify a relevant community with whom the capstone project can be developed. They will identify, along with the agency, a problem and develop a solution. This final project will require them to integrate across the education objectives of foundations in infant and early childhood mental health, development and psychopathology in infancy and early childhood, infant observation, diversity, prevention and intervention in infancy and early childhood, and communication. This experience is required for students to receive this certificate.

Together with the student and community agency, the instructor will develop training goals and a capstone training plan. The instructor is responsible for supervision of the student and ensuring that the capstone experience meets the educational needs of the student. The instructor is responsible for additional training relevant to early childhood mental health and ethics.

Capstone Requirements:

1) Has the student shown that he/she can collect relevant data via observation of the infant, toddler, or preschooler in multiple settings (e.g., with the primary caregiver(s), at school/day care)?

2) Has the student communicated the results of their work, either in a written document or a presentation

Examples of Possible Capstone Experiences:

  1. Internship requiring a case presentation. For example, if an agency has identified a family in particular need the student will develop a case conceptualization and identify resources in the community to help the family
  2. Identify a training need the agency has; for example, further training on the effects of early childhood trauma on behavior
  3. Building bridges between the agency and the parents and families they serve

Possible capstone placements/partnerships:

  1. The Children’s Center
  2. Babywatch Early Intervention
  3. Primary Children’s Hospital: Child life specialists
  4. Head Start and Early Head Start programs
  5. Early care and education
  6. Help me Grow Utah

View an example syllabus here.

 

Application

Last Updated: 3/31/21