Child Life and Education
Services for Children
Child Life specialists help prepare children and families for hospital experiences by explaining medical procedures and tests in a simple, honest, and developmentally appropriate manner. Tactile objects such as teaching dolls, models, medical equipment, and photos are often used with a child and/or family to enhance teaching and understanding.
Child Life Specialists focus on the feeling aspects of hospitalization. Acknowledging and validating the hospital experience is potentially anxiety producing. Child Life Specialists facilitate children and families to utilize existing coping skills. Child Life specialists also work to create a comfortable and supportive environment for patients and families to express themselves.
Children come to know and understand the world around them through play, which has much value in terms of healing and understanding. Opportunities for play are provided in playrooms and at the bedside.
Opportunities for familiarization, education, and integration of information are facilitated through the use of medical equipment. Through play, children’s misconceptions are often identified, clarified, and feelings and concerns validated.
Support is provided to children and families before, during and after medical procedures, treatment room experiences, and surgery. Children are helped in identifying and utilizing positive coping responses.
Observations pertaining to child development, adjustment to hospitalization, and the child’s ability to cope with illness made by Child Life specialists are shared with parents and the medical team (doctor, nurse, social worker, chaplain, and others).