Child Life Therapy
How can a Child Life Specialist help my child?
· A child life specialist can help psychologically prepare a child or adolescent for a medical procedure, using language that they understand. Providing preparation for medical procedures has been proven to decrease anxiety concerning the procedure, decrease fear, can help the procedure go smoothly, and promotes better long term adjustment with medical challenges.
· Teach new coping techniques to children, adolescents, and families to help reduce anxiety around medical experiences. Teaching new coping techniques can increase a child or adolescent’s cooperation with the medical team.
· Provide parents and caregivers with developmentally appropriate distraction techniques they can utilize with their children during medical procedures to help increase their child’s coping and cooperation. Research has proven that developmentally appropriate distraction during medical procedures can actually reduce pain levels felt during and after the medical procedure.
· Offer children, adolescents, and families an opportunity to engage in self-expressive activities and therapeutic play to normalize their challenging medical experiences. Research has proven that engaging in these types of activities can reduce emotional distress.
· Provide support and advocacy to parents and caregivers who are caring for medically ill, compromised, or injured children and adolescents. Parent/caregiver anxiety strongly correlates with a child’s anxiety levels. Child Life Specialists can help promote stress management within adults as well as with children and adolescents.
What is a Child Life Specialist?
Child Life Specialists are healthcare professionals that help children, adolescents, and families cope with challenging medical issues and medical experiences. Child Life Specialists have strong backgrounds in child development and promote healthy coping skills for children, adolescents, and families through self-expressive activities, therapeutic play, developmentally appropriate medical preparation and healthcare education. Child Life Specialists can work in inpatient pediatric units, outpatient pediatric clinics, private practices, and a variety of other community-based settings.