Cindy Parson-Puccio '97
Floor-time play therapist, private practice, Westchester County and New York City, New York
For Cindy, work really is play. But it’s playtime with a serious purpose.
Foundations/Motivations: Discovered interest in children in speech pathology class
Experiences: Wrote thesis exploring communication in three-year-olds
Results: Has private practice in play therapy
As an American literature major, Cindy spent her undergraduate years getting to know characters shaped from ink and paper. After she started classes toward a master’s degree in speech and language pathology, she found herself wondering more about the character of the child in question than about the mechanical workings of his tongue as he spoke. On the suggestion of a friend who was a student in Sarah Lawrence’s Art of Teaching program, she ended up in the College’s Child Development program.
B.A., American Literature, Middlebury College (1994)
One of the things Cindy appreciates most about Sarah Lawrence is the time she spent watching typically developing children at the College’s Early Childhood Center. She’s found that her perspective is unusual among her colleagues. “You have to know what normal looks like before you can say something’s not right,” she says. “That’s very specific to the Sarah Lawrence education, and I appreciate that enormously. I think it really affects the way I work with children.”
- Did floor-time play therapy with children in a private practice (began as fieldwork in 1996; evolved into a part-time job)
- Worked with two-year-old children at Sarah Lawrence’s Early Childhood Center (1994–96)
- Worked with L-1 class at Sarah Lawrence Early Childhood Center (1995)
“The Difficulty of Establishing Shared Meanings for Three-Year-Olds”
Cindy began exploring the way three-year-olds play and communicate with each other, hoping to find signs of shared meanings and understandings of the world. She didn’t find what she was looking for, so her thesis evolved into a study of why that wasn’t present in the children’s dialogue.
Since Sarah Lawrence, Cindy’s experiences have ranged widely, which suits her fine. She likes the fact that the Child Development program prepared her to work in different areas. Besides earning a master’s in social work at New York University, she’s done psycho-remediation with children—kindergartners through high school students—experiencing a variety of learning issues. She helped pilot a “near-peer” mentoring program in three New York City public schools. She’s done floor-time play therapy in a private practice setting with children on the autistic spectrum, work that she continues today. And now she has a child of her own to observe and engage in some non-clinical play therapy.
M.S.W., New York University (2001)
M.A., Child Development, Sarah Lawrence College (1997)
- Conducts floor-time play therapy in a private practice (1996–2001; 2004–present)
- Worked as a psychotherapist and public elementary school counselor through Family Services of Santa Monica, California (2000–03)
- Provided individual psycho-remediation to children in kindergarten through high school who presented with a variety of learning disorders, The Learning Center, Riverdale, New York (1996–2000)
- Coordinated Cookies and Dreams mentoring project, New York City public schools (1997–99)
Read more about Cindy's professional experiences in the Spring 07 edition of Sarah Lawrence magazine.