Attendee Interior Page Banner - Virtual Conference

Conference Highlights

The virtual exhibit hall will be open through June 30, so be sure to visit any exhibitors you missed during conference. 

Attendees of live sessions at the 2020 Child Life Virtual Conference may apply for patient experience credits (PXEs). Click here to learn more.

Wednesday, May 20

Here's what attendees had to say about the opening keynote session:

"This was the most powerful keynote I have ever seen!" 
"This was awesome. I was very engaged throughout this session!"
"Listen, really listen - what's not being said. What do I need to learn on my own?"
"Lean on courage to ask questions of other cultures." 

Opening Keynote Session

The conference kicked off with a dynamic opening keynote session featuring James Burroughs, the Chief Equity and Inclusion Officer at Children's Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota, talking candidly with Georgia Fort about diversity, equity, and inclusion and the child life community. "You're gonna have to diversify the ranks of child life specialists... Introduce young people of diverse backgrounds to the profession... What to do when policies conflict with DEI - Change them!" 

Correction: We originally reported that Rachel Calvert interviewed James Burroughs. Rachel introduced James, Georgia Fort interviewed him. 

Here's what attendees said about other sessions:
"Nikki's example of how to protect privacy when charting her interaction with a patient who told her about thoughts of being transgender was very helpful."
"As a white passing Puerto Rican, I struggle with my own identity as a person of color and sometimes struggle with feeling like I am intruding on that space. Thank you for advocating, Kia."
"I appreciate the case study stories!"
"Thank you to all the speakers. This was very rich, planted such important seeds."

Other Sessions

The opening keynote session was followed by another intriguing session: Exploring the Unique Healthcare Needs of Gender Diverse Youth. The two presenters discussed gender dysphoria - when a person's experiences don't match the sex they are assigned. "This is a medical diagnosis, not a mental illness." 

The session From Cultural Competence to Cultural Consciousness: Demystifying Diversity Training in Child Life Services had a panel of three that talked about reframing diversity training. Members of color were encouraged to get more involved with ACLP - get on the Board of Directors. The unfortunate technical issues that arose with the session inspired encouraging words of support from attendees in the live chat: "Love the grace and adaption! It'll make this session that much more memorable." 

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From Cultural Competence

Child Life at Play - Trivia

Trivia round 2-b


Thursday, May 21

Child Life at Play - Coffee Hour.

Here's how some attendees started their conference.
Coffee Hour

There's still time to have your free caricature drawn.

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Assessing our Assessment: Meeting Patients' Needs in an Evolving Healthcare System discussed how to accurately assess and then support all patients—outpatients as well as inpatients, teens as well as toddlers. The presenters emphasized the importance of quantifying child life services and supporting the kids with moderate to high acuity levels.

“We’re doing more and more invasive procedures in outpatient.”

“Adolescents are often ignored from a psychosocial standpoint.”

“Most research looks at overt distress.” 

“Due diligence on the front end saves a lot of time on the back end.”

Assessment Poll
Changing healthcare metrics
Strongly supported risk factors
The presenters of Call to Action: Becoming an Abolitionist CCLS shared how the current cultural climate makes it imperative that child life professionals not only develop knowledge and skills in racial consciousness but also think, communicate, act—and practice child life—in a methodical and strategic manner.
Thurs-abolitonist-3-Brene Brown quote slide
Thurs-abolitionist -1-padlet
The unscripted vulnerability of presenters and attendees in Clinical Supervision: A Reflective Practice Experience highlights the support child life professionals provide each other and the healing power safe communal spaces can provide. 

Diane Rode
Hilary Woodward
“Beyond words…thank you for showing how powerful a virtual session can be.” 

“Such a clear example of the importance of supervision and the role of the facilitator.” 

“Thank you both for your candor and willingness to bring in the anxiety piece..."

“Seeing the feelings come out in Hilary and Diane is so impactful…”


Friday, May 22

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The Essential Role of Therapeutic Play: Incorporating Play Facilitation Skills from Core Competency to Advanced Practice provoked a lot of discussion and thoughtful questions from attendees. Presenter Chris Brown stated, "I like to think of play as a fundamental right."

Here's what attendees had to say about the Friday keynote session:

"Awesome! Powerful! Informative! Accessible!"

"An enlightening presentation. I will go forward with this information."

Here's how attendees are feeling during the pandemic:

Michelle Kim

Keynote Session

This keynote featured Michelle Kim (Pronouns: she/her), Co-Founder and CEO of Awaken, a leading provider of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion training programs that go beyond just “checking the box.” Michelle believes in creating compassionate space for uncomfortable conversations in order to build connections and inspire lasting change. 

The Studio Programming & Technology Panelists shared tips for using technology pre- and post-COVID and had some fun with avatars.
Tech Panelists
Erick Avatar
"When we take these virtual trips or zoom people in, it exposes our patients to people and places they may not have the opportunity to meet or visit otherwise."
"We are choosing joy during this time...and I think the studio can sometimes set the tone for how the rest of the hospital feels."
"We've had to make a complete change. Patients can't be with us in the studio right now."
"Our music therapist in the NICU is seeing more patients than ever...and parents are participating too."


Saturday, May 22

The presenters of An Exploration of Facility-Canine Assisted Therapy shared the benefits and responsibilities of being a child life specialist and a facility-canine assistant therapy (FCAT) handler.

Canine Facility poll


“Ned is the ultimate distraction tool in her bag.”

“Just upon entering the room, he lightens the mood and stress level.”

“Having a dog is a huge responsibility.”

“I know kids who won’t get up for physical therapy except to walk the dog.”

Professional Development