"Child life specialists are trained professionals with expertise in helping children and their families overcome life’s most challenging events.
Armed with a strong background in child development and family systems, child life specialists promote effective coping through play, preparation, education, and self-expression activities. They provide emotional support for families, and encourage optimum development of children facing a broad range of challenging experiences, particularly those related to healthcare and hospitalization. Because they understand that a child’s wellbeing depends on the support of the family, child life specialists provide information, support and guidance to parents, siblings, and other family members. They also play a vital role in educating caregivers, administrators, and the general public about the needs of children under stress" (Child life council, 2015). Association of Child Life Professional, Policy Statement
Did you know research has found that...
Children & adolescents who are prepared for medical procedures experience less fear and anxiety, and will have better long term adjustment to medical challenges.
Children & adolescents in the hospital who engage in therapeutic play with a trained professional exhibit less emotional distress, increased cooperation, and fewer negative physiological responses.
Providing support for family members enhances psycho-social outcomes for young patients. A parent or caregiver’s behavior and anxiety levels are strongly correlated with how a child will respond to hospitalization.
Children & adolescents that are provided age appropriate and honest information regarding illness, death, and hospitalization are more likely to have healthier coping and adjustment.
Examples of Therapeutic Services Offered by Child Life Specialists:
Expressive Arts and Therapeutic Play
Age Appropriate Teaching
Advocating for the emotional needs of children and families facing healthcare challenges