Child Life & Developmental Services
Setting the nationwide standard in pediatric care for over 40 years.
Our certified child life specialists are educated and clinically trained in the developmental impact of illness, injury and trauma. They child life employ a variety of therapeutic methods to help children and families cope, adapt, learn and develop with and through their health care and life experiences. Throughout the pediatric services, our child life specialists provide developmentally and psychologically appropriate, family-centered interventions including therapeutic play, preparation for procedures, and education to reduce fear, anxiety, and pain.
OUR CHILD LIFE SPECIALISTS
Specialists help children, teens, and families mitigate anxiety about seeing a doctor and coming into the hospital by teaching coping strategies that center on play, preparation, education, and self-expression.
INTERVENE IN CRISIS
As an integral part of the multidisciplinary Pediatric Emergency Services team, child life specialists act as a liaison between patients, families, and health care providers in order to increase communication, reduce fear and parent in pain management during urgent medical procedures and traumatic events.
PARTNER WITH PARENTS
Child life staff counsel and educate caregivers within a developmental framework which emphasizes realistic expectations of their child’s interactions that enhance positive parent-child relationships. In addition, Child life provides anticipatory guidance to prepare caregivers for their children’s’ next developmental milestones and the impact these may have on the child’s interaction with his environment. This work is integrated into all clinic programs and services and addressed in both the Adolescent Parents group and the Early Learning Group.
PROGRAMS & INITIATIVES
Child life specialists staff playrooms in inpatient and outpatient Pediatric Services; in the clinic, children are welcomed to the playroom while they wait for doctor appointments. Playrooms are environments in which children’s cognitive, emotional and developmental growth can be stimulated and facilitated through developmentally appropriate play. By engaging children with games, blocks, pretend play and art, child life staff may ascertain potential development issues or concerns to be addressed with the child’s parents and pediatrician. The playrooms also provide opportunities for caregivers to access optimal parenting tools, information or referrals to meet their needs. On the inpatient unit, children and teens have their own space to engage in activities that foster mastery, build self-esteem, facilitate self-expression, and create a sense of normalcy while in the hospital environment.
Child life specialists prepare children and teens scheduled for surgery or medical procedures. The children and teens are encouraged to use medical play equipment and art materials to express their emotions and concerns. The specialists then provide guidance and coping strategies that ultimately reduce anxiety levels surrounding the surgery or during the medical procedure.
Child life staff counsel and educate caregivers within a developmental framework which emphasizes realistic expectations of their child’s interactions that enhance positive parent-child relationships. In addition, Child life provides anticipatory guidance to prepare caregivers for their children’s’ next developmental milestones and the impact these may have on the child’s interaction with his environment. This work is integrated into all the clinic programs and services and specifically addressed in both the Adolescent Parents group and the Early Learning Group.
Child life specialists provide experiences and interventions that help children and teens accommodate to the hospital environment through creative arts, medical and symbolic play and other activities that help maintain normalcy during their hospital stay.
Child life specialists provide psychological support to children, teens, and their families in the Pediatric chronic illness clinics of asthma, diabetes, cardiology and comprehensive care (medically fragile). As an integral member of the interdisciplinary team, child life staff facilitates positive coping skills and strategies for the patients living with a chronic illness.
Volunteers may work in several areas through our Child Life and Development program. We require a commitment of at least once a week for 6 months. Volunteer opportunities are available 7 days during both day and evening hours.
Child Life internships are available in the fall, spring, and summer. We follow the requirements and deadlines set forth by the Child Life Council. These requirements and a general application may be found at childlife.org. Child Life students seeking a child life internship should contact Gloria Mattera (Gloria.Mattera@nychhc.org), Director of Child Life & Developmental Services, directly.