Dr. Laurie Zelinger has the distinction of being a Board Certified Psychologist* by the American Board of Professional Psychology (ABPP) and a Fellow of the Academy of School Psychology. Board certification represents the highest level of attainment a psychologist can achieve and is held by just over 100 school psychology specialists in the United States and Canada. She held an elected position at a national level on the Executive Board of the American Academy of School Psychology from 2016-2018. Dr. Zelinger is a Registered Play Therapist-Supervisor by the Association of Play Therapy.
Dr. Zelinger was born and raised in Queens, New York. She is a successful product of the New York City public school system, from kindergarten through graduate school. After graduating “cum laude” from Queens College with a B.A. in Psychology and a minor in Education, she continued at Queens College to earn a Master’s degree and a Professional Diploma in School Psychology. Dr. Zelinger accepted her first job at Willowbrook Developmental Center (a.k.a. Staten Island Developmental Center) where she worked for eight years before taking a break to raise a family. Later, with four children and the urge to get back into the work force, Dr. Zelinger learned the art of balancing motherhood and career. She returned to work part-time and earned a PhD in School/Community Psychology from Hofstra University. The New York Association of School Psychologists honored Dr. Zelinger with the Ted Bernstein “Outstanding Graduate” Award. Years later, she completed additional training in order to become a credentialed play therapist. Her learning goes on with continuing education courses.
Dr. Zelinger is a Board Certified Psychologist with the American Board of Professional Psychology, a New York State Licensed Psychologist and a Certified School Psychologist in New York State, New York City, and New Jersey. She is also a Registered Play Therapist/Supervisor of the Association for Play Therapy and in April 2009, was elected to the position of “Director” on the Board of Directors for the New York State branch of the organization which she held until 2013. Additionally, Dr. Zelinger was elected to the position of Secretary at a national level within the American Academy of School Psychology for the 2016-2018 term. Dr. Zelinger has additional certification in the following areas: The Grieving Child Bereavement Certification, Banana Splits Divorce Program, Child Abuse Prevention, NYS OMRDD Behavior Management of Aggressive Clients, and in CPR. Dr. Zelinger has completed certification as a Red Cross Disaster Mental Health Team Associate Volunteer, which she used working in two shelters after severe hurricane damage destroyed parts of the New York area.
From 1996 until 2015, Dr. Zelinger had been a full-time School Psychologist with the Oceanside, NY Public Schools where she worked with elementary students and provided supervision to graduate student interns from many local universities. In addition, she has a vibrant private practice in Cedarhurst, NY where she treats children and their parents. While she is experienced in treating nearly all childhood issues, she specializes in helping anxious children handle their fears, fostering communication skills in children with selective mutism, building social skills in children with friendship and behavioral difficulties, helping families navigate the divorce process and preparing children for medical procedures. She is also an expert in the area of special education and often helps parents understand their child’s evaluations, needs, and the process of developing Individualized Educational Programs (IEP’s) through the Committee on Special Education (CSE). As an experienced diagnostician, evaluator and advocate, Dr. Zelinger has participated in or chaired over 3,500 meetings of the Committee on Special Education. Her approach to each youngster is tailored to that individual child, drawing upon psychodynamic, cognitive behavioral, child centered techniques, and lessons learned from being a mother of four. Warmth, humor, and acceptance are a critical part of each treatment plan.
Dr. Zelinger’s previous employment includes School Psychologist positions with the Lawrence, NY Public Schools, Nassau Bureau of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES), Staten Island Developmental Center and the Little Meadows Early Childhood Center. She and a friend developed and ran a Mommy and Me Program (The Brandeis School Early Childhood Center) in Lawrence, NY for two years when she was raising her own children. Later, she taught graduate courses in Special Education and Psychology for seven years, for the College of St. Rose. In previous years, when she was a student, Dr. Zelinger completed internships at six clinic and school facilities. She has also held Adjunct Clinical Supervisor positions at Pace University’s Psychological Services Department, St. John’s University and NYU Department of Psychiatry.
Dr. Zelinger’s memberships in professional organizations have included the American Board of Professional Psychology, the American Psychological Association, New York State Psychological Association, Nassau County Psychological Association, National Association of School Psychologists and the Association for Play Therapy’s National and New York State Divisions. In the New York State Psychological Association, her contributions have included service as Chair of the Task Force on Child and Adolescent Issues, Information Officer and Media Ambassador. She has been a Media Referral Service representative for the American Psychological Association’s Public Education Campaign since 2007. For five years, she enjoyed writing a column called, Grin and Share It, which she developed for the newsletter of New York State branch of the Association of Play Therapy. Dr. Zelinger has held many volunteer educational and community service positions, including those as Co-chair of the Board of Education in a local private school and Commissioner and coach of a children’s community soccer league.
Dr. Zelinger is a lifelong learner and educator and has given numerous presentations to professional associations, such as the international conference on the Association of Play Therapy, National Association of School Psychologists and presentations to many teacher and parent groups.
On a personal note, her interest in children dates back to her days as a young babysitter and became the foundation of her later pursuit of school psychology and play therapy. During the course of Dr. Laurie’s professional career, she and her psychologist husband, Dr. Fred Zelinger, raised four boys. As parents, they learned firsthand the difference between reading about children and living with them!
Board Certification is the attainment of an independent, rigorous verification that the standards and competencies required in a specialty area of psychology have been met. Board certification (awarding a certificate in a specialty) assures the public that specialists designated by the American Board of Professional Psychology (ABPP) have successfully completed the educational, training, and experience requirements of the specialty, including an examination designed to assess the competencies required to provide quality services in that specialty. Board Certification is the highest level of recognition that a professional can attain in her field and those actively Board Certified with specialization in School Psychology represent just over 100 psychologists in the United States and Canada.