Superstorm Sandy Anniversary Conference

Children of the Superstorm: Keeping Them in Mind and Looking Ahead. An Infant-Early Childhood Mental Health Response

Thursday, November 14, 2013
8:30 a.m.4:30 p.m.
Adelphi University
University Center
Garden City Campus
(Get Directions)


Amy Dickson, Psy.D.
Department of Psychiatry
Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center
Director of the Orleans Parish Infant Team
New Orleans, Louisiana

Gerard Costa, Ph.D.
Kaitlin Mulcahy, MA, LPC, NCC
Center for Autism and Early Childhood Mental Health
College of Education and Human Services
Montclair State University
Montclair, New Jersey


About the Program

Children, aged zero to five, experience trauma differently than older children. They do not yet have the cognitive capacity to comprehend or process traumatic events. Nevertheless they are affected, remember the event in varying ways, and are dependent on parents or caregivers for their well-being. Children exposed to trauma in natural and unnatural disasters can experience both short-term developmental problems as well as longer-term effects on their physical and social-emotional well-being. Young children often experience emotional and behavioral dysregulation after traumatic experiences. They may regress and feel confusing emotions that might include guilt, fear and anger. All domains of development can be negatively affected and often, children are derailed from their normal developmental trajectory. Sensitivity to both developmental and contextual issues is essential. A crucial role of preventative and clinical intervention is to help young children get back on track. To understand and help young traumatized children, it is important to focus on all components that can make a difference. Assessment, as well as working with parents and teachers is essential in order to prevent long-term effects on the emotional and psychological development on our youngest and most vulnerable developing children. 

This workshop will consider both the nature of the impact of disasters on infants, children and families, and the need for integration of an infant mental health perspective into the systemic, multi-agency responses that follow such traumatic events. Participants will learn about the impact of trauma through a developmental lens, understand about the neurobiological consequences, consider strategies for intervention and self-care, and learn about the ways that the messaging about the needs of infants, children and their families, become part of the response.

About the Instructors

Amy Dickson, Psy.D. is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry LSU Health Sciences Center in New Orleans, as well as the Psychology Section Deputy Chief, and the Psychology Internship Child Program Coordinator. She is a clinical psychologist with a specialization in infant mental health and the treatment of trauma victims. Dr. Dickson received training in Psychological First Aid and applied PFA in the aftermath of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, the BP Oil Spill and several traumatic incidents in local schools. Dr. Dickson is on the teaching faculty for the Harris Infant Mental Health Fellowship and is the Director of the Orleans Parish Infant Team which evaluates and treats children (ages 5 and under) and their families after the children have been removed from their biological parents due to abuse and neglect.  Dr. Dickson additionally conducts family therapy with infants, children and their caregivers and consults to two local child protection offices. She provides supervision to residents involved in both of these programs and treats adults and children in her private practice. 

Gerard Costa Ph.D. is the founding director of the Center for Autism and Early Childhood Mental Health (CAECMH) in the College of Education and Human Services at Montclair State University. The Center offers two graduate certificate programs in autism and infant/child mental health, a school and center training and consultation program and operates a clinical service for infants and children, birth to age 10. In June 2012, the Center was awarded a $1.5 Million, 5-year grant by the Governor’s Council for Medical Treatment and Research to become the NJ ACE (Autism Center of Excellence) Coordinating Center for New Jersey. He is a Clinical Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ), and a member of the Board of Directors, DIR/Floortime and Graduate School faculty of ICDL (Interdisciplinary Council on Developmental and Learning Disorders). He serves as a consultant to ZERO TO THREE and currently serves on several non-profit Boards and the BUILD NJ Committee. In October 2007, Dr. Costa was awarded the Christian Kjeldsen Champion for Children Award by the Child Care Advisory Council of the NJ Department of Human Services. In January, 2010, he was appointed by the Governor as one of 25 representatives and experts to the newly established New Jersey Council for Young Children, an early learning council addressing birth to 5 year olds, where he heads the Infancy and Early Childhood Mental Health committee. In May 2013, Dr. Costa was awarded the Commissioner’s Teamwork/Partnership Award by Dr. Allison Blake, Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Children and Families. He has a small clinical, training and consultation practice, is the author of articles and book chapters on autism and infant mental health and has presented throughout the United States.

Kaitlin Mulcahy, M.A., M.A., LPC, NCC - Kaitlin is the Associate Director of the Center for Autism and Early Childhood Mental Health at Montclair State University. Along with the Center’s Director, Dr. Gerard Costa, she oversees all aspects of programming, including a community clinical service for children and families ages birth through eight years, training, consultation and professional development programs to area school districts and community partners, academic programs at the University including graduate certificate programs in Developmental Models of Autism Intervention and in Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health, and ongoing research around the issues of autism, infant and childhood development and mental health. She is also an Adjunct Professor in the Family and Child Studies Department within the College of Education and Human Services. Before joining MSU, she worked as an early intervention specialist and supervisor at Children’s Community Early Intervention program within Children’s Hospital Boston, and as a family play therapist at the Center for Family Life in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, primarily doing family-centered, developmentally-informed, play-based therapy. Kaitlin has completed Advanced Graduate Certificates in Family Therapy from the Family Institute of Cambridge and in Expressive Therapies from Lesley University. She is currently a Fellow with the Infant-Parent Mental Health Post-Graduate Certificate Program at UMass Boston.

Program Fees

Regular registration: $75


Register and pay your program fee online.

Register by Mail Download the registration form (PDF 672KB) and mail along with appropriate registration fee. Please make your check payable to Adelphi University. If your employer is paying the fee and you cannot send the payment with your registration form, please include a letter guaranteeing payment. Payment must be received by day of the Conference.

If you have any questions, please contact:

Marcy Safyer
Director Institute for Parenting
p - 516.877.3060
e - theinstituteforparenting@adelphi.edu

Scholarship funding to participate in this training may be available through the Educational Incentive Program (EIP). For more information visit tsg.suny.edu. You may also contact EIP at eip@tsg.suny.edu or 800.295.9616.

Credentialing Information and Continuing Education

  • Social Work
  • Nursing
  • Education
  • Psychology
  • NBCC

This program has been submitted for approval for a total of 6 continuing education/training/contact hours.

Social work CEU’s are given through the New York State Chapter of the NASW.

CASAC training hours: Program information has been submitted for approval to the New York State Office of Addiction and Substance Abuse Services Education and Training for credits toward recredentialing.

Education Hours/credits: May be received at the discretion of your school. We are happy to provide any information you may need to help towards your approval.

NBCCNBCC Credits/Hours:
Adelphi University Institute for Parenting is an NBCC-Approved Continuing Education Provider (ACEP™) and may offer NBCC-approved clock hours for events that meet NBCC requirements. The ACEP solely is responsible for all aspects of the program.

Continuing Education Certificates: Certificate of Attendance will be issued at the end of the conference.

Psychology CE credits: Adelphi University is approved by the American Psychological Association to offer continuing education credits for psychologists through the Adelphi University School of Social Work. Adelphi University maintains responsibility for the program and its content. Attendance to the entire conference is required. No partial credit is given. To apply for CE credits, contact the Institute for Parenting at 516.237.8513.

Nursing Contact Hours: This activity has been submitted to the Arizona Nurses' Association for approval to award contact hours. The Arizona Nurses Association is accredited as an approver of continuing nursing education by the American Nurses Credentialing Center's Commission on Accreditation.

Confirmations: No confirmations will be issued due to the high volume of registrations.

Cancellation Policy: No refund can be made for cancellation seven or fewer working days before the event or for no-shows. Cancellations more than seven working days before a workshop will result in a refund less a $15.00 cancellation fee. Requests for refunds must be received in writing.

Disclaimer: The University reserves the right to cancel this or any program due to insufficient enrollment. Registrants will be notified and full refunds will be issued.


Should you require disability accommodations, please email the Office of Disability Support Services at dss@adelphi.edu, giving notice of 72 hours before the event. Should you require ASL interpreting, 7 days notice is required.

For additional information about this program, please contact:

Marcy Safyer, LCSW-R
Linen Hall, Room 11
p - 516.877.3060
e - msafyer@adelphi.edu

The Institute for Parenting
Adelphi University
1 South Avenue
P.O. Box 701
Garden City, NY 11530-0701

f - 516.237.8512

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