The Center for Autism and Early Childhood Mental Health at Montclair State University offers a variety of clinical and family support services, including community clinical services for individuals, families and groups; special contracts for mental health promotion in schools; Lamaze childbirth education, breastfeeding, and pre/perinatal clinical support; and pediatric sensory treatment.
Clinical and family support services at the Center for Autism and Early Childhood Mental Health (CAECMH) at Montclair State University aim to foster the developmental and psychological well-being of children and families, and to support and enhance the relationship between infants/children and their caregivers. The CAECMH has the shared hope of serving local and regional communities with high-quality developmental and mental health services, and advancing the field of infant and early childhood development through excellence in clinical practice, research and professional training.
To do so, the CAECMH provides a continuum of coordinated developmental support and psychotherapeutic services to children ages birth through 10 and their families, including:
- Play-based family therapy for toddlers, preschool and early elementary aged children and their families,
- Comprehensive infant-parent (dyadic) services,
- Interventions for children with developmental difficulties and children diagnosed on the autism spectrum,
- Support for pregnant mothers,
- Groups (for children up to 12 years old).
These services are provided at the Center for Clinical Services on the Montclair State University campus.
The clinical services offered through the CAECMH are rooted in the interdisciplinary field of infant and early childhood mental health and a developmental perspective on the spectrum of ability. More information on these topics may be found on Guiding Principles.
Our approach is embedded in a developmental perspective, in which a child’s capacities in all areas of development are viewed as integrated and unfolding in a sequential order. This mindset has been influenced by the traditions established by the late Selma Freiberg, Thea Bry and Stanley Greenspan. Additionally, we view the distinction between biological and psychological development as artificial, and instead consider each child as a unique individual – their “wholeness” defined by their specific progression in multiple developmental areas, distinctive biological/neurological/sensory/regulatory profile, and the nature of their family, community and educational/clinical relationships. We trust that a child’s “problems” or “symptoms” provide a window into their needs, and develop strategies for intervention and education based on this understanding. We hold that children can best be treated within the context of their own family system, and that the early experiences of the parents have a strong impact upon their ability to be parents themselves. We believe the specific cultural experiences of each child and family are to be honored, and the strengths inherent in each family system are to be recognized, supported and enhanced.
- Community Clinical Services
- Special Contracts for Mental Health Promotion in Schools
- Lamaze Childbirth Education, Breastfeeding, and Pre/Perinatal Clinical Support
- Pediatric Sensory Treatment