Infant and early childhood practice of licensed New York State psychologists

Todd E Karlin, Pace University


The present study focused on the forms of direct and indirect service that NYS licensed practitioners provide to preschoolers and infants. The Infant and Early Childhood Psychology Survey, revised and tailored to doctoral level practitioners, was mailed to 2,851 practitioners across New York State, a randomized sample representative of approximately one third of NYS licensed practitioners. Of the 825 surveys that were returned, 194 indicated that they work with the early childhood population and these responses comprised the sample for this study. Analysis of the surveys indicate that the licensed practitioner offering services to the zero-to-five population is almost never a university trained early childhood specialist, but more frequently a general practitioner who has extended his or her work to the early childhood population. Profiles of service delivery emerge across practice settings. Licensed psychologists employed in schools display a more constricted repertoire of service provision than licensed practitioners in private practice settings. Client characteristics, including age, ethnicity, and diagnosis are related to the forms and frequency of services provided. Across all forms of direct and indirect service, service frequency increases with the age of the client. Certain trends regarding service provision are related to ethnicity. Compared to Caucasian consumers, Hispanic infants, toddlers, and families are more likely to receive therapeutic services for their preschoolers. Distinct patterns of service delivery (i.e., evaluation, consultation, and direct service) are indicated by respondents for the services they provide to various clinical early childhood populations. For neurologically based disorders evaluation is the most frequently provided service. Populations that are at-risk receive direct service and evaluative services most frequently. For DSM-IV diagnostic categories most often associated with preschoolers, direct service is most often provided with the exception of communication disorders, in which evaluative services are most frequently employed. A lack of distinction is indicated among assessment, consultation, and direct service offered to children with disorders generally diagnosed in infancy. Finally, analysis of consultation/collaboration patterns of respondents suggest a distinctive pattern of consultation for practitioners in private practice; these professionals generally utilize monthly consultation, while on-site early intervention and preschool psychologists may consult with a multitude of child-care professionals, sometimes on a daily basis. By documenting patterns of service delivery, this study provides valuable insight into potentially underserved aspects of the zero-to-five population. Results of the current survey offer a description of the varied work of NYS psychologists providing services to the early childhood population. Issues bearing upon generalizability are reviewed, future research needs are highlighted, and training needs are discussed. (Abstract shortened by UMI.)

Subject Area

Developmental psychology|Educational psychology|Psychotherapy

Recommended Citation

Karlin, Todd E, "Infant and early childhood practice of licensed New York State psychologists" (2005). ETD Collection for Pace University. AAI3159952.



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