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What is Child Life?

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  • 1. Child Life In-Service What is Child Life?? By: Kayla Gagne, CCLS, CEIM
  • 2. Who we are..
    • Child Life Specialists are trained professionals with expertise in helping children and families experiencing difficulties (ie. Hospitalization, a new diagnosis, bereavement)
    • We hold a minimum of a Bachelors or Master’s Degree in Child Life, Human Growth and Development, Psychology, Education or another closely related field
    • We adhere to a code of ethics and standards established by the Child Life Council
    • All Certified Child Life Specialists (CCLS) must complete a supervised 480-hour clinical internship, pass a national examination, and adhere to a minimum standard for continued professional development in order to maintain our certification
    • Information adapted from the Child Life Council (www.childlife.org)
  • 3. What we do..
    • Child Life Specialists promote effective coping through play, preparation, education and self-expression activities
    We work as a part of the interdisciplinary team to help meet the psychosocial needs of children and their families
  • 4. Child Life Specialists..
    • Help to normalize the environment through play
    • Provide social and emotional support to children and families (including sibling education and support)
    • Provide preparation for hospitalization and medical procedures
    • Help to give kids and families a role during their procedures
  • 5. Child Life Specialists..
    • Introduce and practice coping techniques with children and families
      • Deep breathing
      • Distraction (pre, during, post-procedure)
      • Guided imagery
    • Offer bereavement
    • and family support
  • 6. Preparation..
      • CCLS are trained to prepare children and their families for potentially stressful and difficult experiences. Preparation provides children and families the opportunity to learn about, and hopefully feel more comfortable with, medical procedures and hospitalization.
  • 7. More about Preparation..
      • Through preparation, a CCLS is able to:
      • Explain hospitalization and medical procedures using developmentally appropriate language and teaching tools
        • (ie. Preparation books, kits, dolls, etc)
      • Include sensory information– explaining what kids may see, feel, hear, taste etc
      • Utilize medical equipment
        • Giving children the opportunity to see, touch and feel it
      • Encourage children and families to ask questions
  • 8. Top 10 reasons to call a CLS
    • 10.) Child/ Patient needs preparation for invasive procedure
    • 9.) Child/Patient is having difficulty coping with a necessary procedure, i.e., crying, fighting or hiding.
    • 8.) Child/Patient exhibits oppositional behavior, refusing to cooperate without anger or hostility
    • 7.) Child/Patient or siblings express specific fears to staff, needing follow up
    • 6.) Child/Patient is perceived by staff as withdrawn
    • Information adapted from the Child Life Council, 2011
  • 9. Top 10 reasons to call a CLS
    • 5.) Child/Patient is having difficulty taking meds
    • 4.) Child/Patient admitted having recently experienced traumatic loss or has a chronic illness (developmental delay)
    • 3.) Child/Patient newly diagnosed with chronic illness
    • 2.) Child/Patient admitted for injuries resulting from a traumatic accident (ie, MVA, fire, etc)
    • 1.) Child/Patient whose injuries or diagnosis has resulted from suspected child abuse
    • Information adapted from the Child Life Council, 2011
  • 10. Thank you!!
    • Thank you all for your time and attention! Any and all feedback is greatly appreciated.
    • All information was adapted from the Child Life Council. For more information about Child Life visit childlife.org
    • For more information about Child Life at UMass:
    • http://www.umassmemorial.org/ChildLifeProgramServices
    • You can contact me directly at:
    • [email_address]
    • or at pager #: 4886

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