Center for Autism and Early Childhood Mental Health
The Center for Autism and Early Childhood Mental Health (CAECMH) was established in September 2011 offering professional development, education, clinical services and research in the areas of autism, infant and early childhood development and mental health. The Center operates under the auspices of the College of Education and Human Services, and its academic programs will be located in the department of Early Childhood, Elementary and Literacy Education.
The Center is led by Dr. Gerard Costa as Director. Dr. Costa is a widely respected expert on both autism and infant/early childhood mental health. Dr. Costa was the Founding Director of the YCS Institute for Infant and Preschool Mental Health, located in East Orange, NJ. He is a member of the Board of Directors, DIR and Graduate Faculty of the Interdisciplinary Council on Developmental and Learning Disorders (ICDL), and serves on a number of non-profit Boards and state initiatives. He also serves as a national consultant and trainer for Coming Together Around Military Families (CTAMF), a ZERO TO THREE initiative to help staff who work with families of infants and young children affected by deployment. He is a former Head Start Director and has worked as a psychologist in Early Intervention for over 27 years. He was appointed by the Governor to the New Jersey Council for Young Children, where he also chairs the Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health committee. He is a recipient of many awards for his service in the areas of early intervention and childhood mental health.
The Center is anchored in multidisciplinary, bio-psycho-social and developmental approaches to meet the needs of infants and young children and their families, and will be supported by theoretical education, research-based methods and clinical applications. Central to the creation of the CAECMH is the role of social-emotional/mental health development at the core of developmental and educational progress. The fields of Infant and Early Childhood mental health and mental health consultation, provide a host of strategies to incorporate mental health, "relationship-based" approaches and reflective practices within developmental, educational and other service programs.
To be most effective, childhood mental health issues must be integrated throughout education and human services. The Center will include academic programs, promotion, prevention and intervention services and partnerships with faculty members from related departments throughout the University and the autism/mental health communities. The Center’s programs and services include:
- Training and Consultation
- Continuing education
Post-baccalaureate and post-graduate certificate programs
- Research and grants
- Transdisciplinary clinical services
- Planned professional development programs for clergy
- Engagement in policy, practice and advocacy issues, serving as a “change agent” to reflect advances in our knowledge and best practices
Center for Autism & Early Childhood Mental Health - Consultation Brochure
Center for Autism & Early Childhood Mental Health - General Brochure
Center for Autism & Early Childhood Mental Health - Clinical Brochure