01/20/12 - Institute expands its international influence
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Siskin Children’s Institute expands its international influence in the field of early intervention and special education
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. – The impact of Siskin Children’s Institute on the lives of young children with special needs and their families has extended well beyond the 143 square-mile region of the Scenic City.
Earlier this month, Robin McWilliam, Ph.D., director of the Siskin Center for Child and Family Research, and Jerry Jensen, president and CEO of the Institute, formally acknowledged the Institute’s most recent international affiliation with the Superior Institute of Applied Psychology (ISPA) in Portugal. Since 2011, the Institute also has signed affiliation agreements with the Catholic University of Valencia in Spain and the University of Porto in Portugal.
“There was a time when the Institute had no larger purpose than to make life better for Chattanooga’s children with special needs,” said McWilliam. “Now we recognize our responsibility to support children and families wherever they live.”
One of the world’s leading experts on engagement in children, McWilliam provides affiliates with training and guidance in the field of early childhood development and special education, specifically in the implementation of the Siskin models for home-based early intervention and for classroom-based early childhood special education. Each affiliate works to adopt a Siskin model within its own research, training, and service programs, thus benefiting from the expertise and knowledge of the Institute.
Since its founding in 1950, the Institute has strived to be a leader in the fields of early childhood development and special education to help build an inclusive society for children of all abilities. With a research team comprised of three doctoral-level researchers, under the leadership of McWilliam, the work of the Institute is highly credible and, therefore, very appealing to organizations and individuals in the U.S. and abroad.
For Cecília Aguiar, Ph.D., faculty member at ISPA and long-time collaborator with McWilliam, the affiliation agreement between ISPA and the Institute signifies a dedication to continued collaboration in activities related to teaching, research and consultation. As a result of this relationship, international scholars have access to the Institute’s research center and expertise. For example, Tânia Boavida, a doctoral student from ISPA, first came to the Institute in 2009 to develop further her doctoral project and study under McWilliam, her U.S. advisor.
“The ultimate goal of our research is to make a difference in the lives of young children with and without disabilities,” said Aguiar. “Siskin Children’s Institute embraces that same mission and, therefore, we are eager to deepen the exchange of ideas.”
Such partnerships have helped the Institute further develop its work and influence on a global level. According to McWilliam, the Institute will continue creating and fostering relationships with international colleagues and further advance cross-cultural learning.
Later this year, McWilliam will represent the Institute as a keynote speaker at Australia’s national early intervention conference and at the annual meeting of the European Association on Early Childhood Intervention. He then will travel to Spain to continue his collaborative work with the Catholic University of Valencia.
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