Child life is the psychosocial side of pediatric care. It is helping children to understand why they are at the hospital, and what is happening while they are here. A child life specialist brings training in child development to the hospital setting and uses various types of play to help promote positive coping skills.
Child life services can be consulted for all age pediatric patients, from birth to 21 years of age. Additionally, child life services also provides support for children of adult patients facing an end-of-life, or life-limiting condition.
Play is a child's first tool for coping with new, and sometimes overwhelming experiences - such as coming to the hospital. A Certified Child Life Specialist can help make your child's hospital experience a positive one through education and play.
For more information about the child life profession, please watch the video below and visit the Child Life Council website.
Essentially, a child life specialist’s job is to play all day! The play provided by a child life specialist always has a specific purpose.
Normalization play helps children feel more comfortable, less frightened, while at the hospital. This type of play shows kids that “just like you play at home, and at school, you can play in the hospital, too. It is a normal place.”
Developmental play helps young children work towards and maintain their developmental milestones, even while experiencing a hospitalization.
Diagnosis play helps children learn about their illness or injury through age-specific, hands-on play.
Procedural support play includes both preparatory play before a procedure, and in-the-moment support and coaching while the procedure is taking place.
Medical play is designed to help children become more familiar with medical equipment and staff, and can help children feel more confident, and less fearful, in the medical setting.
Therapeutic play helps children express and cope with the emotional experience of being at the hospital. Whether frightened, angry, sad, or withdrawn, therapeutic play can help.
Sibling support is also included in child life services, helping the brothers and sisters of pediatric patients to understand what is happening at the hospital, and helping siblings to feel included in family centered care.
The loss of a loved one is a difficult experience under any circumstance. Whether supporting a child patient and her family through legacy-making activities, or providing support to the children of an adult patient, a child life specialist can help children and their families navigate the emotionally complex reality of a death in the family.
To learn more about child life at Rochester General, please contact:Toshiko Nonaka, MS, CCLS
At this time, Rochester General does not offer a practicum, or internship program for child life students.
Child Life Services always welcomes donations of new toys and books for all age groups. (For the safety of our patients, we cannot accept used toys.) We especially need card playing cards, UNO cards, play-doh, bubbles, silly straws, craft kits, coloring books and crayons.
If you'd like to make a donation, call us at 585.922.4374.
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