Video Interaction Project
Poverty is strongly related to disparities in early child development, school readiness and educational achievement, and children from poorer homes are at the greatest risk for entering school without the foundation necessary to succeed.
At Bellevue Hospital Center we have shown that pediatric primary care provides a significant opportunity for innovative, population-wide, low-cost, early-childhood intervention because of the frequency and near universality of visits (due to school immunization requirements), the close relationship between parents and primary care providers, and the lack of need for additional travel.
VIP sessions take place when the child is brought to the hospital for its check-up. The core component involves making videotapes of parents and children engaging in play, which the parent then reviews with a developmental specialist. That specialist works from a curriculum that helps them guide the parent to improve cognitive, language and social development. The curriculum includes understanding and anticipating the baby’s developmental progress, understanding the baby’s temperament, learning to read the baby’s cues, and engaging the baby verbally through pretend play and shared reading. VIP begins at the first visit to the pediatrician at age 2 weeks, and ends with an exit session at 54 months (4 ½ years old).
Kids and parents who participate in VIP have great results!
Children who participate in VIP display:
• Improved cognitive development
• Improved language development
• Higher IQs
• Longer attention spans
• Fewer temper tantrums
Parents who participate in VIP:
• Report reduced stress
• Physically punish their children less
• Experience reduced maternal depression
• Experience increased maternal teaching behaviors
Everyone watches less TV and spends more time talking and playing together.
VIP Mission and History
• VIP is an ongoing research project that was originated in 1999 with funding from Children of Bellevue and our funder The Rhodebeck Charitable Trust. In 1999 researcher Dr. Alan Mendelsohn recruited 140 pairs of mothers and new born children at Bellevue, to see if more intensive intervention into the lives of poor children at the pediatric visit would result in improved language development.
• All families were at risk of language delay because the mothers had not completed school through the 11th grade and were Spanish speakers with limited English language skills. This group participated in the program until the children were three years old. They received follow-up testing in first grade.
• The first phase of the VIP program was so successful that Dr. Mendelsohn applied and was granted a large grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to recruit 450 additional families. These children were followed through the age three, with similarly positive results (see below).
• Results for children aged 0 -3 were so positive that in 2009 Children of Bellevue and the VIP project received two grants of $100,000 each from the Tiger Foundation and The Marks Family Foundation to continue to work with the 450 families until the children were 5 years old. These grants were renewed in 2010. VIP 3-5 is ongoing, and early testing indicates that continued work with these children continue to benefit them.
• VIP 3-5 has been so successful that in August, 2010 Dr. Mendelsohn and VIP received a $2 million five-year grant from NIH to continue to follow the 450 families. The NIH grant will increase the scope of the project’s capacity to assess the effects of VIP, because it will enable the team to do more in depth analyses of the data that has already been collected. More importantly, it will allow VIP to follow-up the children through first grade so that they can assess its long-term impacts.
• Also in August 2010, we received an additional $115,000 from Tiger Foundation, of which $15,000 will be used to publicize the program so that it can be replicated in other hospitals.
There are currently no volunteer opportunities in VIP.