Wednesday, June 22, 2022 from 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM EDT
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Shaun P. Hoyle, Director of Training and Professional Development 
The Florida Center Training Institute, a program of The Florida Center for Early Childhood 
941-371-8820, ext 1007 

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Families Moving Forward




Mind Matters Early Childhood Development Symposium 

The Florida Center Training Institute is honored to offer to the community the Virtual Symposium "Mind Matters Early Childhood Development" on Wednesday, June 22, 2022 from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.  Reserve your space today!

"Mind Matters Early Childhood Development Symposium" features Authors & Distinguished Research Scholars, keynote speakers Dr. Craig and Dr. Sharon L. Ramey, along presentations by Kimberly Kutch, Ed.S., Community Development Administrator of Florida Department of Children and Families, Mandi Coker, Student Services Program Manager at Sarasota County Schools along with Tamra Cajo, LCSW, Director of the Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Clinic, Kim Williams, MS, CCC-SLP, Melissa Cox, OTR/Licensed, Jennifer Graveson, RMHCI, School-based Mental Health Therapist and Margaret Ross, LCSW.

Registration includes a copy of Drs. Rameys latest publication (2022): "The Abecedarian Approach to Healthy Development".

The Florida Board of Clinical Social Work, Marriage and Family Therapy and Mental Health Counseling has approved 5.0 CEUs for Licensed Clinical Social Workers, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists, Licensed Mental Health Counselors, and Certified Master Social Workers.  Certificates will be provided for self-reporting.

Did you know a ‘Pandemic Culture’ may cause a shift in specialized services? Have you ever even heard of the term ‘Pandemic Culture’ at all?  Click here to listen to symposium presenters Tamra Cajo, LCSW and Kim Williams, CCC-SLP discuss this pertinent subject.


Meet the Symposium Speakers: 

. Craig and Sharon L. Ramey

Sharon Landesman Ramey is a Distinguished Scientist and Professor of Psychology,Neuroscience, and Human Development at the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute atVTC, Virginia Tech who has conducted pioneering research on the early origins of children’s cognitive, social, and emotional competence. Her research includes rigorous testing of innovative treatment interventions for children with developmental disabilities, landmark studies of the impact of the social ecology on quality of life for individuals with intellectual disabilities, longitudinal studies that address health and educational disparities, and innovative early childhood and parenting programs to improve the educational and health outcomes of children. With her husband, Dr. Craig Ramey, she has written award-winning parenting books that became the companion volumes to two PBS television series, “Right from Birth” and “Going to School.” She has authored more than 250 scientific publications and 7 books. Her current research focuses on the new field called Implementation Science that seeks to discover the most effective ways to  rapidly translate scientific breakthroughs into practical use to realize full benefits for children and families.

Craig Ramey is Distinguished Scientist and Professor of Psychology, Neuroscience, and Human Development at the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute at VTC, Virginia Tech. His program of research centers on the role of early experience, especially education – across the human lifespan - in the development of competence and robust health. His approach relies largely on experimental interventions in education, psychology, and pediatrics that provide rigorous tests of plausible developmental mechanisms of stability and change within dynamic, multilevel ecologies. 
Craig Ramey engages both epidemiological and longitudinal datasets to provide a broad contextual framework for identifying the multiple inter-related conditions that influence biopsychosocial risk, protective, and facilitating factors. His research findings are relevant to many national and international policy issues. Accordingly, he has extended his research into topics that address “going-to-scale” and rapid application of scientific findings with the potential to prevent disabilities, promote children’s education and health outcomes, and improve family and community well-being. This new field of “implementation science” represents a new frontier for the neurosciences and for educating health practitioners and policymakers.

Dr.  Sharon Ramey and Dr. Craig Ramey will present on their numerous studies which show dramatic gains in learning and accomplishment as the result of nurturing care in early childhood.  They will share their vast knowledge and experience during their presentation "The Abecedarian Project:  50 Years of Learning" which will include a focus on a child's first five years of life, and the study they conducted on 111 very high-risk children who were offered two very different sets of supportive services. The second part of the presentation serves as a guide for interactions between adults and children and focuses on a set of six "core competencies" backed by the Rameys' research, and other findings.  Attendees will also learn how drastic changes in a child's environment, like the pandemic, can affect a child's health, social-emotional wellbeing and brain functioning.  

Do not miss this exceptional opportunity to hear from THE experts in the field of early childhood development.  

  Kimberly Kutch_ Ed.S.  

Kimberly Kutch, Ed.S. and Tamra Cajo, L.C.S.W

Kimberly Kutch, Ed.S., Community Development Administrator of Florida Department of Children and Families and Tamra Cajo, LCSW, Director of The Florida Center's FASD Clinic will present "Impacted at Birth: The Lifetime Effects of Drugs, Alcohol and Trauma."  This presentation will explore the rising impact of drugs, alcohol and trauma exposure on young children and how it can impact brain development and behaviors.  Attendees will lean about the challenges children and families face when seeking appropriate supports/services as negative behaviors are often viewed as purposeful rather than a symptom of brain-based disability.  This perspective, along with environmental happenings like the pandemic, can cause a disruption of services, perpetuating a cycle of increased stress for caregivers and children.  The effects can be particularly upsetting for children in the welfare system.  In this presentation, attendees will gain a better understanding of the benefits of early identification, consistency and advocacy.  The presenters will also address how compounding factors such as the pandemic have changed parental wellbeing, mental health and the welfare system as we know it.

Margaret Ross, L.C.S.W.

Mindfulness and movement are beneficial for children and adults alike. While different age groups and populations connect with varying approaches, learning to be in the moment proves useful when busy minds wander to the past and anxiously anticipate the future. This presentation will demonstrate how strategies such as breathing and grounding exercises, gentle, healthy movement, guided imagery, and gratitude exploration are accessible ways to invite a mindfulness practice into your routine at any stage of life.

Kimberly Williams_ M.S._ CCC-SLP Melissa Cox_ OTR_Licensed

Kimberly Williams, M.S., CCC-SLP and Melissa Cox, OTR/Licensed

Kimberly Williams, M.S., CCC-SLP and Melissa Cox, OTR/Licensed will present "The Paradigm Shift in Early Intervention in a Post-Pandemic Setting".  This presentation will discuss how child development researchers have only begun to measure the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on our youngest children.  In this presentation, attendees will learn how the roles of occupational therapists and speech-language pathologists in the early childhood setting can enhance development.  New developmental trends may impact the way developmental therapists, mental health counselors, early childhood educators and parents support children in achieving their highest potential.  Additionally, discussed is how early childhood professionals are addressing the impacts of the pandemic on young children.

   Jennifer Graveson_ RMHCI

Mandi Coker and Jennifer Graveson, RMHCI

Mandi Coker, Student Services Program Manager at Sarasota County Schools and Jennifer Graveson, RMHCI, School-based Mental Health Therapist will present "A Compelling Collaboration:  How School-Based Therapy Changed Sarasota Public Schools." 

This presentation will discuss how the education and mental health systems have collaborated to meet the social-emotional needs of students through changes, challenges and traumas.  Attendees will learn about the challenges today's students are facing, how the school district is responding and what interventions The Florida Center's school-based mental health therapist have contributed.  With a focus on the ramifications of the pandemic, Ms. Coker and Ms.Graveson will also discuss homelessness, abuse, domestic violence and loss amongst other adversity and how these issues can present in a child's behaviors.  Attendees will learn how the school-based therapy model works and how it's initiated a need for trauma-informed care for all school-personnel.