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The importance of positive early environments on developmental outcomes for children living in poverty is clear.
Understanding how to help parents help their children acquire positive developmental skills is emerging, according to Harvard Medical School associate professor Catherine C. Ayoub, the guest speaker at an event hosted by the Frances McClelland Institute for Children, Youth and Families at the University of Arizona.
Open to the public, the free presentation is Feb. 24 from 3-4:30 p.m. at the John and Doris Norton School Family and Consumer Sciences on the UA campus, 650 N. Park Ave., Room 103. A reception will follow in the lobby.
Ayoub's UA presentation is part of the McClelland Institute's Pamela J. Turbeville Speaker Series that in 2012 is highlighting the Institute's Early Childhood Initiative, which focuses on prevention, early intervention, risk and resilience in young children (ages birth to 5).
The multi-disciplinary UA researchers involved in the Initiative are interested in the social-emotional well being of children, positive parent-child relationships, and evidence-based early interventions for at-risk children and those with disabilities.
"We know that interventions very early in children's lives have an impact on language skills, behavior regulation and problem solving skills," said UA associate professor Ann Mastergeorge, chair of the McClelland Institute's Early Childhood Initiative. "All three are necessary for school readiness. Helping parents gain skills in promoting these behaviors helps, in turn, to prepare their children for success in school."
Ayoub is a licensed psychologist and nurse practitioner interested in the impact of childhood trauma across the life span, and the development and implementation of prevention and intervention systems to combat risk and promote resilience in young children and their families across cultures and communities.
During her UA talk, she will address how Early Head Start programming affects the development of behavior regulations and language skills in children, and ways in which research findings can guide system-wide development of programming that support parents in raising healthy children even in the face of adversity.
Ayoub is a faculty member with the Brazelton Touchpoints Center, which is dedicated to optimizing family and community resources to build strong foundations for learning and development in the earliest years.
Her work with the center includes program development, research, and evaluation consultation and training. She currently leads the development of a bi-lingual effort for Latino Touchpoints. She is responsible for overseeing the evaluation efforts at the center and is presently engaged in research around child, family and system-level assessment with attention to evidence-based practices.
She directs ongoing research in prevention and intervention systems for young children and families, including playing a central role in the longitudinal evaluation of children and families in Early Head Start, an innovative systems-wide preventive intervention related to depression and parenting within early childhood care systems.
In addition to her Harvard and Brazelton appointments, Ayoub is executive director for the Family Connections Project and director of Research for the Children and the Law Program at Massachusetts General Hospital.
Raised in Mexico, Ayoub comes from a multicultural background and has special expertise in clinical work, program development and research with Latino families.
The Frances McClelland Institute for Children, Youth and Families serves as a catalyst for cross-disciplinary research on children, youth and families at the UA.
Its research initiatives address questions important to the development and well being of contemporary children, youth and families, with the goal of improving basic understanding to enhance the lives of the people of Arizona and the world.
The John and Doris Norton School of Family and Consumer Sciences, which is part of the UA College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, has two divisions: family studies & human development and retailing & consumer sciences. Both offer undergraduate, masters, and doctorate degrees and are ranked among the best in the nation.
Together, they host four multidisciplinary research, outreach and education units: the Cooperative Extension, the Terry J. Lundgren Center for Retailing and Consumer Sciences, the Take Charge America Institute for Consumer Finance Education and Research, and the Frances McClelland Institute for Children, Youth, and Families.