Marian E. Williams, PhD

Professor of Clinical Pediatrics

Program Area Lead, Early Childhood Mental Health Programs

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Marian Williams is a licensed psychologist specializing in infant-family and early childhood mental health and developmental disabilities in children. Based at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, Dr. Williams is Director of the Stein Tikun Olam Infant-Family Mental Health Initiative and Program Area Lead of the Early Childhood Mental Health program. These prenatal to five mental health programs provide innovative trauma-informed, relationship-based services for families across the continuum from prenatal care to inpatient hospitalization to outpatient care, including services in hospital, community, and clinic settings. Dr. Williams is also Director of Interdisciplinary Training for the USC University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDD). She has co-developed psychology training programs that provide specialized training for interns and postdoctoral fellows in infant and early childhood mental health, and an interdisciplinary training model for assessment and diagnosis of young children with complex psychosocial, developmental, and medical needs. She led the Training and Technical Assistance project for First Connections, a six-year project funded by First Five LA to enhance developmental screening and linkage for young children from underresourced communities. Dr. Williams conducts research on diagnosis and assessment of autism spectrum disorders, access to care for young children with developmental disabilities, diagnosis of young children, development of bilingual children, and evaluation of training.


  • Providing Continuity in Infant Mental Health Services for Medically Fragile Infants and Their Families J Clin Psychol Med Settings. 2024 Mar; 31(1):5-18. . View in PubMed
  • Clinical use and implementation of the diagnostic classification of mental health and developmental disorders of infancy and early childhood Infant Ment Health J. 2023 05; 44(3):362-371. . View in PubMed
  • Sensory Adaptations to Improve Physiological and Behavioral Distress During Dental Visits in Autistic Children: A Randomized Crossover Trial JAMA Netw Open. 2023 06 01; 6(6):e2316346. . View in PubMed
  • Brief Report: Caregiver Confidence in Reporting Anxiety Symptoms in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder J Autism Dev Disord. 2022 Aug; 52(8):3727-3733. . View in PubMed
  • Policy and Practice Barriers to Early Identification of Autism Spectrum Disorder in the California Early Intervention System J Autism Dev Disord. 2021 Oct; 51(10):3423-3431. . View in PubMed
  • Neurodevelopmental outcome of monochorionic twins with selective intrauterine growth restriction (SIUGR) type II: laser versus expectant management J Matern Fetal Neonatal Med. 2021 May; 34(10):1513-1521. . View in PubMed
  • Profile of Autism Spectrum Disorder in Tuberous Sclerosis Complex: Results from a Longitudinal, Prospective, Multisite Study Ann Neurol. 2021 12; 90(6):874-886. . View in PubMed
  • Infant-Family Mental Health in the NICU: A Mixed-Methods Study Exploring Referral Pathways and Family Engagement J Perinat Neonatal Nurs. 2021 Jan-Mar 01; 35(1):68-78. . View in PubMed
  • Unique deficit in embodied simulation in autism: An fMRI study comparing autism and developmental coordination disorder Hum Brain Mapp. 2021 04 01; 42(5):1532-1546. . View in PubMed
  • Factors Influencing Implementation of Evidence-Based Mental Health Interventions for Infants and Young Children J Behav Health Serv Res. 2020 10; 47(4):493-508. . View in PubMed
  • The Complexity of Making a Diagnosis J Dev Behav Pediatr. 2020 04; 41(3):242-244. . View in PubMed
  • Language predictors of autism spectrum disorder in young children with tuberous sclerosis complex Epilepsy Behav. 2020 02; 103(Pt A):106844. . View in PubMed
  • Child-Parent Psychotherapy with Infants Hospitalized in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit J Clin Psychol Med Settings. 2019 12; 26(4):584-596. . View in PubMed
  • Impacting development in infants with tuberous sclerosis complex: Multidisciplinary research collaboration Am Psychol. 2019 04; 74(3):356-367. . View in PubMed
  • The Importance of Sensory Processing in Mental Health: A Proposed Addition to the Research Domain Criteria (RDoC) and Suggestions for RDoC 20. Front Psychol. 2019; 10:103. . View in PubMed
  • Child abuse and neglect re-report rates for young children with developmental delays Child Abuse Negl. 2018 09; 83:1-9. . View in PubMed
  • Broad Developmental Screening Misses Young Children With Social-Emotional Needs Clin Pediatr (Phila). 2018 06; 57(7):844-849. . View in PubMed
  • Language Barriers Impact Access to Services for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders J Autism Dev Disord. 2018 02; 48(2):333-340. . View in PubMed
  • Utility of the Autism Observation Scale for Infants in Early Identification of Autism in Tuberous Sclerosis Complex Pediatr Neurol. 2017 Oct; 75:80-86. . View in PubMed
  • Developmental Screening and Referrals: Assessing the Influence of Provider Specialty, Training, and Interagency Communication Clin Pediatr (Phila). 2017 Oct; 56(11):1040-1047. . View in PubMed
  • Evolving Definitions of Autism and Impact on Eligibility for Developmental Disability Services: California Case Example Intellect Dev Disabil. 2017 06; 55(3):192-209. . View in PubMed
  • Influence of seizures on early development in tuberous sclerosis complex Epilepsy Behav. 2017 05; 70(Pt A):245-252. . View in PubMed
  • Phenotype of 7q1123 duplication: A family clinical series. Am J Med Genet A. 2017 Jan; 173(1):114-119. . View in PubMed
  • Brief Report: Recruitment and Retention of Minority Children for Autism Research J Autism Dev Disord. 2016 Feb; 46(2):698-703. . View in PubMed
  • Sensory Adapted Dental Environments to Enhance Oral Care for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders: A Randomized Controlled Pilot Study J Autism Dev Disord. 2015 Sep; 45(9):2876-88. . View in PubMed
  • Feasibility of a sensory-adapted dental environment for children with autism Am J Occup Ther. 2015 May-Jun; 69(3):6903220020p1-10. . View in PubMed
  • The psychologist as an interlocutor in autism spectrum disorder assessment: insights from a study of spontaneous prosody J Speech Lang Hear Res. 2014 Aug; 57(4):1162-77. . View in PubMed
  • Child-Parent Psychotherapy in the context of the developmental disability and medical service systems Pragmatic Case Studies in Psychotherapy. 2014; (10):212-226. . View in PubMed
  • Physiological and behavioral stress and anxiety in children with autism spectrum disorders during routine oral care Biomed Res Int. 2014; 2014:694876. . View in PubMed
  • Cognitive tests in early childhood: Psychometric and cultural considerations Journal of Psychoeducational Assessment. 2014; 5(32):455-476. . View in PubMed
  • Autism assessment in children with optic nerve hypoplasia and other vision impairments Dev Med Child Neurol. 2014 Jan; 56(1):66-72. . View in PubMed
  • Trauma treatment in young children with developmental disabilities: Applications of the Child-Parent Psychotherapy model to the cases of “James” and “Juan”. Pragmatic Case Studies in Psychotherapy. 2014; (10):156-195. . View in PubMed
  • Barriers to accessing services for young children Journal of Early Intervention. 2013; (35):61-74. . View in PubMed
  • Linking infants and toddlers in foster care with early childhood mental health services Children and Youth Services Review. 2012; 4(34):838-844. . View in PubMed
  • Opportunities arising from transformation from treatment as usual to evidence-based practice Professional Psychology: Research and Practice. 2012; 1(43):9-16. . View in PubMed
  • Assessment of autism in community settings: discrepancies in classification J Autism Dev Disord. 2009 Apr; 39(4):660-9. . View in PubMed
  • Eliminating the wait for mental health services J Behav Health Serv Res. 2008 Jan; 35(1):107-14. . View in PubMed
  • Cognitive/neuropsychological studies of children with a schizophrenic disorder Schizophr Bull. 1994; 20(4):647-69. . View in PubMed
  • Relaxation, reduction in angry articulated thoughts, and improvements in borderline hypertension and heart rate J Behav Med. 1991 Oct; 14(5):453-68. . View in PubMed