Professor Sharon Syc is the director of Erikson’s master’s degree program, child life concentration; and codirector of the Irving B. Harris Infant Specialist Certificate Program. In addition, she serves as an adviser to Erikson’s master’s degree program in the areas of early childhood special education and early intervention.She is a member of the Erikson Institute Faculty Development Project on the Brain and co-author of a module on the brain and language development. She has eight years of direct experience teaching children ages 2-16, particularly those with special needs in the public schools, and has served as a consultant to early intervention programs.

Areas of Expertise

Infant development; early intervention; special education; developmental psychology; language development.

Honors

  • PARC Association Taking the Initiative Award (1999)
  • Scholarship, University of Chicago (1980 – 1981)
  • Traineeship Award, University of Illinois at Chicago (1970 – 1972)
  • Scholarship, University of Illinois at Chicago (1968 – 1972)

Education

B.A. in elementary and special education, University of Illinois at Chicago;
M.A. in special education, Northeastern Illinois University;
Ph.D. in educational psychology/developmental psychology, University of Chicago.

Related Experience

  • Clinical Associate Professor, Erikson Institute, Chicago, IL, 2000 – Present
  • Adjunct Faculty, Erikson Institute, Chicago, IL, 1997 – 2000
  • Consultant, Developmental ASPIRE Early Intervention Program (Formerly known as PARC Early Intervention Program), 1996 – Present
  • Part-time Faculty, Psychology, College of DuPage, Glen Ellyn, IL, 1997 – 1998
  • Adjunct Faculty, Psychology, Elmhurst College, Elmhurst, IL, 1996 – 1998
  • Adjunct Faculty, Psychology, Concordia University, River Forest, IL, 1996 – 1998
  • Teacher, LaGrange Elementary School District 102, LaGrange, IL, 1996 – 1999
  • Visiting Lecturer, Psychology, Northeastern Illinois University, Chicago, IL, 1994 – 1996
  • Adjunct Faculty, Psychology, Northeastern Illinois University, Chicago, IL, 1994
  • Research, Psychology, University of Chicago 1993 – 1996
  • Co-director of Child Care Research, The Ounce of Prevention Fund, Chicago, IL, 1984 – 1986
  • Research Associate, Child Psychiatry: Parent Infant Development Service (PIDS), University of Chicago Hospitals, 1984 – 1985
  • Research Assistant, Thresholds Psychiatric Rehabilitation Center: Mother’s Project, 1980 – 1981
  • Therapeutic Teacher/Diagnostician, Nicholas J. Pritzker Children’s Hospital and School, 1972 – 1979

Service

  • Board Member, ILAIMH 2008
  • Board Member, Illinois Developmental Association Therapists
  • Volunteer, Illinois Early Intervention
  • Committee member, Consortium to Lower Obesity in Chicago Children
  • Committee member, Academic Summit for Child Life Council
  • Member, National Association for the Education of Young Children

Research

Research interests include brain development, infant studies, early intervention, special education, and language development.

Recent Publications

Alibali, M. W., Bassok, M., Olseth, K., Syc, S.E., & Goldin-Meadow, S. (2002). Illuminating Mental Representations through Speech and Gesture. Psychological Science, 10, 327-333.

Alibali, M. W., Bassok, M., Olseth, K., Syc, S.E., & Goldin-Meadow, S. (1995). Gestures Reveal Mental Models of Discrete and Continuous Change. In J.D. Moore and J.F. Lehman (Eds.), Proceedings of the Seventeenth Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society. Hillsdale: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Presentations

Language Development for Physicians (2011, July). Workshop presented to pediatricians and pediatric residents at St. Anthony’s Hospital July 22 Chicago, IL.

Moving Erikson Online: Four Perspectives from administrators, faculty, instructors, and designers on an intentional and inclusive process. (2009, November). Workshop presented at the 2009 NAEYC Annual Conference and Expo November 18-21 Washington, DC.

Developing Academic Learning Communities: Lessons Learned while Moving Erikson Online. (2009, June). Workshop presented at the NAEYC 18th National Institute for Early Childhood Professional Development June 14-17 Charlotte, NC.

Creation of An Online Infant Specialist Certificate Program: Sharing what we have learned. (2008, June). Workshop presented at the NAEYC 17th National Institute for Early Childhood Professional Development June 8-11 New Orleans, LA.

Inclusion and Special Needs: The Unfinished Work of Early Childhood Teacher Preparation. (2006, November). Workshop presented to Chicago City College Faculty at Erikson Institute,
Chicago, IL.

Neurobehavioral Observation of Infants and Toddlers. (2005, October). Workshop presented at the Sharing A Vision-Working Together for ALL Young Children Conference in Oak Brook, IL.

Stress, the Brain and the Developing Child. (2004, November). Workshop presented at Maximizing Children’s Potential: The Power of the Brain Conference in Evanston, IL.

Brain Development. (2004, April). Workshop presented at the FOCUS on Early Education Conference at Kankakee Community College in Kankakee, IL.

The Effects of Stress on the Developing Child. (2004, March). Workshop presented at the Human Literacy: Learning to read the world … before learning to read the word Waldorf Early Childhood Conference in Chicago, IL.

The Brain and the Developing Child: Stress, Coping and Caregiving. (2003, August). Workshop presented to social workers for the Special Education District of Lake County in Wildwood, IL.

The Brain and Language Development in the Developing Child. (2003, May). Workshop presented at Erikson Institute, Chicago, IL.

Brain Wonders: Development in the First Three Years with a Focus on Stress. (2003, April). Workshops presented at the Sixth Annual Infant Toddler Conference, Oakton Community College, Des Plaines, IL.

Stress and the Brain in the Developing Child. (2003, April). Seminar conducted for the Loyola University School of Social Work, Chicago, IL.

The Brain and Early Development. (2003, February). Workshop presented at the Early Head Start Initiative Training in Zion, IL.

The Developing Brain: The Developing Child from Birth through Adolescence. (2002, October). Seminar conducted for the Loyola University School of Social Work, Chicago, IL.

Brain Wonders: The Brain in the first three years of life. (2002, June). Workshop presented at the DuPage Children’s Museum, Naperville, IL.

The Brain and Early Development. (2002, May). Workshop presented at the Early Head Start Initiative Training in California.

Brain Wonders: What you need to know about the brain and development. (2002, April). Workshops presented at the Fifth Annual Infant Toddler Conference, Oakton Community College, Des Plaines, IL.

BrainWonders. (2002, April). Workshop presented at Erikson Institute, Chicago, IL.

BrainWonders: Language and Literacy in Toddlers. (2002, January). Workshop presented for Advocate Health Care-Day Care, Morton Grove, IL.

BrainWonders: Working with Infants and Toddlers. (2001, November). Poster presentation at the Zero To Three National Training Institute, San Diego, CA.

The Brain and Child Development. (2001, November). Presentation for Columbia College, Chicago, IL.

Stress, Coping and Caregiving. (2001, September). Workshop presented at the5th Start Early Learning Begins at Birth Conference, Voices for Illinois Children and Erikson Institute, Chicago, IL.

BrainWonders: Helping Babies and Toddlers Grow and Develop. (2001, June). Workshop presented at Erikson Institute for Reach Out and Read Volunteers and Professionals, Chicago, IL.

Brain Development and Sensory Processing From a Life Span Perspective. (2001, March). Presented at Life Links and DAEYC Sharing Across the Ages Conference, Bensenville, IL.

Early Influences on Brain Development. (2001, February). Building Successful Partnerships, Chicago, IL.

BrainWonders: Helping Babies and Toddlers Grow and Develop. (2000, November). Training sessions for Child Care Initiatives, Chicago, IL.

BrainWonders: Helping Babies and Toddlers Grow and Develop. (2000, October). Workshop presented at the Golden Corridor Association for the Education of Young Children Annual Conference, Des Plaines, IL.

BrainWonders: Helping Babies and Toddlers Grow and Develop. (2000, September). Workshop presented at the DuPage Association for the Education of Young Children Annual Conference, Naperville, IL.

The Infant/Toddler and Caregiver Relationship: Its Importance for Optimal Development in the Day Car Setting. (1998, January). Workshop presented at the Annual Conference of the Chicago Metropolitan Association for the Education of Young Children, Chicago, IL.

Special Needs: Early Signs in Infant and Toddlers. (1997, October). Workshop presented at the South Suburban Association for the Education of Young Children Annual Fall Conference, Tinley Park, IL.

Emotional Intelligence: Assessment in Young Children. (1997, April). Presented at the Loyola University Center for Children, Families and Community Bridges for Communication Seminar Series, Wilmette, IL.

Connecting with Colleagues: Professional Roles and Perspectives in Working with Infants, Toddlers, and Families. (1997, March). Presented at the Illinois Association for Infant Mental Health Networking Seminar, Chicago, IL.

Infant Mental Health: What is it and how does it work? (1996, June). Presented at the Governor State University Early Intervention Conference, University Park, IL.

Gestures reveal mental models of discrete and continuous change. (1995, June). Paper presented at the annual conference of the Cognitive Science Society, Pittsburgh, PA.