Friday, February 8, 2013
9:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m.


Alumni House

The Clinical Assessment and Treatment of Preschool Mood Disorders: Developmental and Parental Considerations

Master Series in Early Childhood and Infant Mental Health

About the Program

The Parenting Institute Professional Development and Continuing Education Brochure

Recent research has estimated that as many as 1–2 percent of all preschoolers in the United States are clinically depressed. It is difficult to admit that a toddler can suffer from a mood disorder, let alone have the knowledge to recognize and treat it. Symptoms for very young children do not fit neatly into a well-defined disorder category, as they do for teens and adults.

While there is a developing body of empirical data validating depression in the preschool period, there remains a great deal of confusion and uncertainty amongst experts on whether bipolar disorder may arise in a young child and, if, so how to differentiate it from depression, attention deficit hyperactive disorder or simply a difficult home or school environment.

In this workshop, Dr. Joan Luby will present developmentally appropriate clinical techniques used for the mental health assessment of mood disorders in preschool children. She will also review up-to-date research on these techniques. These will be discussed in the context of the developmental theory about depression in young children.

In addition, Dr. Luby will address the clinical characteristics of preschool onset depression and how to differentiate it from normative extremes of mood and other early onset disorders. Participants will learn how to appropriately assess and identify symptoms of depression in preschool children (aged 3–6). Finally, she will present a novel conceptual model that may be used in dyadic psychotherapeutic approaches for the treatment of preschool depression.

About the Instructor

Joan Luby, M.D., is a professor of child psychiatry at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and founder and director of the Washington University School of Medicine Early Emotional Development Program (EEDP). The EEDP is a clinical research program that focuses on the study and treatment of affective disorders in preschool age children. Her clinical work and research focuses more specifically on infant/preschool mood disorders, particularly depression, clinical characteristics, biological markers and alterations in the emotional development of young children associated with early onset mood disorders. More recently, these studies have extended into investigations of alterations in brain development in children with early onset depression. Dr. Luby’s research includes the first large-scale empirical studies that have established the criteria for identification, validation and clinical characteristics, as well as longitudinal course of depressive syndromes in the preschool age group. Dr. Luby chairs the infancy committee of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and has published extensively on the issue of preschool mood disorders and young child psychopathology.


Early registration, before January 11, 2013: $105
Regular registration, January 11, 2013 or later: $115

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If registering by mail, please make your check payable to Adelphi University. If your employer is paying the fee and you cannot send the payment with your registration form, please include a letter guaranteeing payment. Payment must be received by day of the conference.