A child or teen’s experiences with health care and illness, either their own or a family member’s, can lead to feelings of fear, confusion, loss of control, and isolation that can in turn negatively impact their physical and emotional health. Child life specialists are professionals trained to help children and their families understand and manage challenging life events and stressful health care experiences. By using play, recreation, education, self-expression and theories of child development, these specialists help promote the psychological well-being and optimum development of children and families faced with stressful situations. Child life specialists traditionally work in pediatric medical environments and in community settings like Wonders & Worries, where they can give children and teens going through a challenging time the tools to cope with that stress.
Certified child life specialists have earned a Bachelor’s and/or Master’s degree with an educational background that includes human growth and development, education, psychology, and counseling. Prior to certification they are required to complete an internship program and a rigorous application and examination process. Using child-friendly and developmentally appropriate language, child life specialists help children understand illness and treatment. They can also teach children and teens coping strategies to reduce anxiety. At Wonders & Worries all services are provided by certified child life specialists, or by trained professionals who are supervised by certified child life specialists.
To learn more about child life services, visit the Child Life Council website. The Child Life Council is a nonprofit organization that promotes effective, quality child life services and ensures a standard of quality and performance among those who have earned the Certified Child Life Specialist designation.