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Child Life


Hospitalization, clinical treatments and diagnoses often stir feelings of anxiety among medically fragile patients. Child Life specialists work with children to provide this vulnerable population with psychosocial support and develop strategies and mechanisms to help children cope with and process feelings related to their illness, injury or treatment program. Play therapy, medical play, procedural preparation, coping and relaxation techniques are some of the modalities used to address the unique needs of the hospitalized child.

Child Life services are available to inpatients and Day Hospital patients at Blythedale. By collaborating with other clinicians, including rehabilitation therapists, Child Life specialists can help patients adjust to the dynamic and challenging demands of recovery, and reinforce patient goals for therapy and recovery during individual sessions with children.

Creative outlets to process emotions, build self-esteem and a healthy body image are offered in a supportive environment where patients have privacy and build trusting relationships. Child Life Specialists can provide non-pharmacological interventions to foster comfort for children followed by the Hospital’s Pain and Palliative Care Team. Partnering with the rehabilitation therapists, Specialists can help patients adjust to challenging demands of recovery and reinforce therapy goals during individual sessions with children.

Child Life Specialists are trained in child development and study the impact that illness, injury and hospitalization have on children’s physical and psycho-social status. Child Life services are available for Inpatients, as well as children attending the Day Hospital. Specialists are certified by the Child Life Council and are trained to support families of children living with both congenital and acquired illnesses.

Interested in a Child Life Internship opportunity? Please click here.

For tips on ways parents and caregivers can help promote their child's comfort, please click here.

For more information, please contact Kelsey Mayer, Director of Child Life, at kmayer@blythedale.org  or (914) 592-7555 ext. 71463.
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