Training, practice and the use of consultation/collaboration within infant and early childhood school psychology

Karyn A Sweeney, Pace University


Psychologists' roles within the infant and early childhood psychology field are multidimensional and often defined by an interplay of professional expertise and the setting in which they work. Consultation and collaboration are terms that are used somewhat loosely and often interchangeably by psychologists. Consultation and collaboration models are examined and discussed. This research project is important to look at the consultative/collaborative role psychologists play since this is an important aspect of early childhood psychology practice. The training of school psychologists is also considered and discussed. The Infant and Early Childhood Psychology Survey is a research project designed to explore various aspects of infant and early childhood psychology training and practice, in New York State including characteristics of practice, graduate training, use of consultation, and needs for continuing education. This survey helps to gather much needed information about this young specialization while providing a glimpse of the current and future needs of these professionals. This survey helps explicate the use of consultation regarding early childhood by school psychologists, the applications and effectiveness of consultation with respect to infants and young children, and demographic characteristics of those who use consultation and collaboration. Participants included members of the New York Association of School Psychologists (NYASP) and the New York State affiliates of the National Association of School Psychologists (HASP). A total of 214 surveys were analyzed for the purposes of this study. Results indicate that those school psychologist respondents acknowledging some work with 0–5 children are predominately Caucasian females, with masters level degrees, practicing between 0 and 10 years. Few of these school psychologists are working with the 0–3 population in early intervention settings; the overwhelming majority work with 4 and 5 years olds through the Committee on Preschool Education. School psychologists are generally assessing, treating, and providing some consultation services to children with cognitive impairments, developmental disabilities, pervasive developmental disorders, communication disorders, and those with behavior/emotional disorders. Many of the psychologists who responded to the survey believe that consultation is a valuable tool, but the results show that consultation is not apparently used often or effectively. Most school psychologists reported they learned their consultation techniques through on the job experience and readings. When they do consult, school psychologists are mainly consulting with those in the educational realm (e.g., speech language pathologists, teachers, occupational therapists, and physical therapists), as opposed to those in the medical realm (e.g., psychiatrists, pediatricians, or neurologists). This study may help psychologists and other educators understand the roles of school psychologists working with the infant and early childhood population. The responses of psychologists working with the infant and early childhood population, their graduate training, continuing education needs, and use of consultation/collaboration model provide information that will help shape the future of this emerging specialized discipline. This survey allows for trainers in the field to provide needed training to school psychologists as they broaden their scope of practice to include infants and young children.

Subject Area

Developmental psychology|Educational psychology|Preschool education

Recommended Citation

Sweeney, Karyn A, "Training, practice and the use of consultation/collaboration within infant and early childhood school psychology" (2002). ETD Collection for Pace University. AAI3058978.



Remote User: Click Here to Login (must have Pace University remote login ID and password. Once logged in, click on the View More link above)