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Child Life Specialists (CLS)

Child life specialists are trained professionals who help children and families adjust to hospital life and help make the hospital experience a more positive one. Child life therapists work in large pediatric facilities, emergency department, surgical and intensive care units, outpatient healthcare facilities, doctors’ offices, hospice care, specialized camps, schools, court systems, and funeral homes. Child Life Specialists provide a wide variety of activities and experiences for children from birth to adolescence.
Child Life Specialists:
-encourage optimum development of children facing a broad range of challenging experiences related to healthcare and hospitalization
-explain procedures in child-friendly terms
-provide non-medical preparation and support for children undergoing tests, surgeries, and other medical procedures
-support kids and families as they deal with reality and grapple with tough choices and decisions
-ease a child’s fear and anxiety with therapeutic and recreational play activities
-direct pre-admission hospital tours and resources, and consultations with outpatient families
-help families those affected by illness to manage emotions, such as anger, disbelief, sadness, and depression
-provide education and resources for parents

Having a Child Life Specialist on a health care ensures that children growth and development will continue despite hospitalization. Child life specialists have earned a minimum bachelor’s or master’s degree, with an educational emphasis on human growth and development, education, psychology, or a related field of study.