Colleen Sharkey | April 19, 2020
We’ve all become familiar with the term ‘telehealth’ since the outbreak of coronavirus in the U.S., but we tend to associate the word with immediate physical health needs. At Notre Dame’s William J. Shaw Center for Children and Families, psychology experts address and study other aspects of health that contribute to healthy family life. Having to turn a physical space that is normally bustling with moms and dads and their children into a virtual environment that preserves research continuity and continues to provide services is not easy, but that’s exactly what the Shaw Center researchers and staff are doing.
Several programs at the center have been converted to a telehealth model, including the child and family therapy clinic and a number of parenting programs such as the Notre Dame Families & Babies Study (ND-FABS). The clinic is a resource for anyone in South Bend and surrounding areas and provides therapy sessions with psychology doctoral students (closely supervised by licensed Notre Dame faculty) for low out-of-pocket rates. The focus of ND-FABS is supporting healthy development in babies by helping moms and dads establish and maintain positive parenting skills.
“ND-FABS involves testing two programs in the home — one that focuses on mothers' and fathers' parenting with their infants and another that focuses on parents' communication skills with each other. When it was becoming clear that we needed to practice social distancing, we and our families were concerned that we would have to stop this part of the study,” said Julie M. Braungart-Rieker, the Mary Hesburgh Flaherty and James F. Flaherty III professor of psychology.
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