Child Life Specialists
Child Life Specialists are trained to help children and their families understand and manage challenging life events and stressful medical experiences. Because children process information from the world around them differently than adults, they have distinct needs for managing the effects of stress and trauma. Without assistance from a professional who understands their unique perspective, children of all ages may experience emotions such as fear, shame, confusion, anger and loneliness, which can inhibit their natural development, and have lasting negative effects on their wellbeing and future health-related choices.
Child Life Specialists have concentrated their studies, at the bachelor or master’s degree level, in child development and in promoting effective coping through play, preparation, education and self-expression activities. They provide emotional support for families and encourage optimum development for children facing a broad range of challenging experiences, particularly those related to health care and hospitalization. The American Academy of Pediatrics affirms that Child Life is “…an essential component of quality health care,” and, at Beacon Children’s Hospital, Child Life Specialists work as integral members of the multidisciplinary team of nurses, physicians, social workers, dietitians, therapists, and others, to ensure that pediatric patients and their families receive “family-centered care” at the highest level of quality possible.