Alumna Kelly Thompson, MSW '12, featured on WIVB for work at Children's Center for Success

Published August 8, 2014

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by Lauren Kososki

Kelly Thomson, MSW ’12, was recently featured in a WIVB story for her innovative work at the Children’s Center for Success. Thomson, who currently works as a clinical and parent-child interaction therapist, sought to respond to a recent rise in young children being expelled from preschool due to hyperactive behavior.

The strategy implemented by Thomson at the Children’s Center for Success involves a teacher interacting with a child while Thomson observes behind a two-way mirror. Through the use of an earpiece in the teacher’s ear, Thomson can communicate with the teacher, coaching him or her through the process of responding appropriately to the child at all times. By focusing on the caregiver’s response to the child’s behavior, rather than on the behavior itself, Thomson creates a positively reinforcing atmosphere for the child, while equipping the caregiver with the tools to navigate potentially challenging behavior.

This method has yielded positive results and growth among teacher-child interactions. Although Thomson is sensitive to the possibility that challenging behavior in children may be the result of experiencing traumatic events, she also cites a different root cause: in this age of needy technology, children often fight for their parents’ attention--and sometimes they lose. Because of this, Thomson and the Children’s Center for Success are looking to expand the therapy to include parent-child interactions, hoping to foster encouraging relationships and communication in the child’s own home.