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About the speaker: Dr. Tricia Williams is a Clinical Neuropsychologist and Associate Scientist at the Hospital for Sick Children. Williams’ research focuses on neuropsychological outcomes following early brain injury and the importance of supporting the family in optimizing resilience. She is the principal investigator of the I-InTERACT-North project and the Parent Experiences project. Together with a multi-disciplinary team, a strong group of students and research staff, Dr. Williams’ research program aims to learn more about modifiable factors promoting resilience following early brain injury, and to identify modes of service delivery that will optimize neuropsychological outcomes.

Promoting mental health outcomes in early childhood with positive parenting practices: I-InTERACT-North

Description: The gaps and inequity in children’s mental health services are longstanding in Ontario, and investment in the early years are critical to optimize positive well-being in children and families. In 2019 our team, which includes clinicians, scientists, parents and/or caregiver partners and community partners, adapted a virtual caregiver program, I-InTERACT-North, to address the mental health needs of young children (3-9) with early brain injury, medical and neurodevelopmental conditions and their families.  I-InTERACT-North is an evidenced-based intervention that promotes positive parenting relationships during the early years, strengthens children’s social and emotional competency and provides psychoeducation to parents regarding their child’s brain development.  Across all trials to date, program engagement significantly improved positive caregiving and child behaviour. Parents uniformly reflected how the program and their therapist successfully incorporated their family’s cultural background to guide and inform treatment. In this presentation, we will describe the journey of the I-InTERACT-North program among various clinical populations, including early brain injury, complex medical conditions, ADHD and ASD. We will also illustrate the value of patient-oriented research partnerships, equitable and culturally responsive service delivery, as well as future directions and scalability of this children’s mental health initiative. 

By attending this workshop you will:

  1. Understand “why” promoting and providing evidence-based, culturally responsive, family and patient centered, mental health interventions among at-risk children offers an obvious target to optimize lifelong mental health and quality of life.
  2. Garner detailed understanding of “what” the I-InTERACT-North mental health intervention entails and offers for caregivers and younger children, and evidence to date of its success across child and family outcomes.
  3. Be introduced to “how” I-InTERACT-North is being extended and scaled across Ontario to more equitably reach and support families with early mental health concerns.