It’s Child Life Services Week

Play and building relationships are at the heart of our work of tapping into the world of kids and teens as Child Life Specialists. Our mission is to support young people and their families and help them adapt to the hospital environment, as well as their medical treatment. A child who must suddenly undergo uncomfortable, sometimes painful or procedures or operations can view these events as very threatening if he does not understand what is happening to him. Through medical play and preparation, we can help him make sense of what is happening and help him gain a sense of control.

We also work to involve parents in our interventions to equip them with tools so that they can help to prepare and reassure their child. Together, we assign parent and child unique roles, choose distraction tools that will be used during a medical intervention and well how we’ll position the child so that he’s comfortable. Through this work, we come to discover the vulnerabilities of families, but also their strengths and adaptive capacities, which is amazing to witness! Our work is complemented by liaising closely with the nurse, the doctor, the medical staff and the psychosocial team that surrounds the child and the family.

The work of a Child Life Specialist is constantly evolving and requires a lot of creativity. Even so, I remain convinced that I have gained a lot more from patients and their families over the years, compared to what I have given them. They have taught me the greatest life lesson, in my opinion: showing up as parents no matter what the circumstance.