The Video Interaction Project

For additional information about VIP, visit

What is the Video Interaction Project?

The Video Interaction Project (VIP) is a relationship-based, individualized parent-child intervention that is administered to families in the context of pediatric primary care. VIP takes place from birth to five years, with half-hour sessions taking place primarily on the day of primary care visits. VIP sessions are facilitated by an interventionist, who meets one-on-one with families. VIP sessions are scheduled to coincide with regularly scheduled pediatric well child visits, either before or after the pediatrician or other care provider sees the child. The VIP interventionist delivers a curriculum focused on supporting interactions in the context of pretend play, shared reading and daily routines, to enhance child development and school readiness. This takes place utilizing several components including:

1. Video-recording of parent-child interaction: A 5-7 minute video of each parent-child dyad engaging in activities suggested and modeled by the interventionist using a provided developmentally-appropriate learning material is created and reviewed. The mother (or father) and interventionist then watch the video together, with the interventionist making observations about the parent’s interactions with the child.  The interventionist reinforces positive interactions and provides suggestions regarding missed opportunities for interaction. A copy of the video is given to the parent to take home to support the implementation of activities in the home and shared with other family members.

2. Provision of learning materials: Developmentally appropriate learning materials, including a toy and/or book, are given to families at each visit to take home. Learning materials were selected to promote parent-child engagement in activities likely to support child development.

3. Pamphlets: Messages are reinforced using written, visit-specific pamphlets which the interventionist reviews with each mother. Each pamphlet includes suggestions for interacting with the child through play, shared reading and daily routines. The interventionist encourages the parent to show the pamphlet to the pediatric provider who further reinforces messages.

There are currently two versions of VIP: a version geared for infants and toddlers (VIP 0-3) and a version geared for preschoolers (VIP 3-5).  Each visit is tailored to be appropriate for the child’s developmental level.

Is the Video Interaction Project effective?

The Video Interaction Project has been rigorously studied through a series of [studies <put link to research>] that show that VIP has large benefits for families by impacting both parenting and development.  A sample of our findings includes:

Impacts on parenting

  • Increased parent-child interactions through reading, teaching and play (Mendelsohn et al., 2005; Mendelsohn et al., 2007; Mendelsohn et al., 2011a)
  • Reduced television exposure, in part resulting from enhanced interactions (Mendelsohn et al., 2011b)
  • Reduced maternal depressive symptoms (Berkule et al. 2012; Berkule et al., 2014))
  • Reduced parenting stress (Cates et. al., 2012)
  • Reduced use of physical punishment (Canfield et al., 2015)

Impacts on development

  • Enhanced cognition, language through age 3 years (Mendelsohn et al., 2005; Mendelsohn et al., 2007); IQ, reading at school entry (Mendelsohn et al., 2011c)
  • Reduced need for Early Intervention (Mendelsohn et al., 2005)
  • Enhanced socioemotional development (Weisleder et al., 2016)

Currently, we are studying the continued impacts of VIP through elementary school.  In addition, we are examining the effectiveness of receiving VIP from ages 3-5 years and the effectiveness of VIP combined with other parenting programs.

Who can benefit from the Video Interaction Project?

The Video Interaction Project is designed to provide parents with the confidence and motivation to engage in high-quality interactions with their children in order to support early development, literacy, and school readiness.  While it is likely that any family can benefit from this program, VIP has been primarily used with low-income families whose children are at risk for poverty-related disparities in educational success.

 Why is pediatric primary care important?

Pediatric primary care is a unique platform for reaching at-risk, poor children population-wide prior to school entry.  This stems from the fact that all children must receive immunizations and screening prior to school entry, resulting in 15 routine visits to the pediatrician between birth and 5 years.  VIP utilizes this infrastructure by meeting with high-need families when they are already at the doctor’s office.  This reduces the cost of the intervention significantly when compared to other programs geared towards high-need parents (e.g., home visiting programs).

Where is the Video Interaction Project being offered?

VIP has been offered to families in two different ways: as part of a randomized control trial, and as part of routine pediatric care. 

Randomized control trials of VIP are either presently or eminently underway at Bellevue Hospital Center and the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, allowing us to continue to learn about the effectiveness of VIP.

Since 2013, VIP has been available as part of routine pediatric care at Woodhull Medical Center, in Brooklyn.  If you are a parent of an infant (0 – 3 years) receiving pediatric care at Woodhull and are interested in VIP, call 718 963 8184 for more information.

If you are a medical professional and are interested in learning about opportunities for offering VIP for families in your practice, please contact Dr. Mendelsohn for more information.