How a Child Life Specialist Can Help You
How a Child Life Specialist Can Help Your Child and Family
The American Academy of Pediatrics affirms that child life is “an essential component of quality pediatric health care,”1 and as such, child life services have become a standard in most pediatric hospital settings. Child life specialists typically work as members of an interdisciplinary team, which may include physicians, nurses, social workers, therapists, counselors, teachers, parents and others.
Child life specialists focus on the psychosocial needs of children, collaborating with parents and other members of the team to:
- Ease a child’s fear and anxiety with therapeutic and recreational play activities
- Foster an environment that incorporates emotional support
- Encourage understanding and cooperation by providing non-medical preparation and support for children undergoing tests, surgeries, and other medical procedures
- Advocate for family-centered care
- Engage and energize children and families by coordinating special events, entertainment, and activities
- Consider the needs of siblings or other children who may also be affected by a child’s illness or trauma
- Direct pre-admission hospital tours and resources, and consultations with outpatient families
- Support families confronting grief and bereavement issues
- Provide information and resources for parents and members of the interdisciplinary team
- Collaborate with members of the interdisciplinary team, including doctors, nurses, mental health professionals, social workers, and other representatives from pediatric disciplines
- Supervise and train child life students and volunteers
- Coordinate donations and seek sources for program funding
- Educate the public-at-large on the needs of children
How Can I Obtain Child Life Services for My Child?
If you are interested in obtaining child life services for your child and family, ask your physician or an organization administrator if child life services are appropriate and/or available. For more information on the child life profession, please download a copy of the Child Life Services Flyer .