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Child Life Program

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Email the Child Life Program
or call 413-794-3145

We Make Health Care Less Scary

Whether your child is visiting the hospital for tests, a procedure, an emergency, or surgery, it can be a scary or stressful time. Our certified child life specialists are trained professionals with expertise in helping children and their families overcome some of life’s most challenging events. We explain the care process and what to expect in terms your child and family can all understand.

Our child life specialists have backgrounds in child development and family systems. They promote effective coping through play, preparation, education, and self-expression activities. They have experience supporting children’s and teens’ concerns and reactions to many different health challenges and illnesses. Our goal is to make sure everyone in your family can cope with your child’s time in the hospital and that the experience is as positive as possible.

Child Life Specialists Use Unique Coping Methods

Child Life Specialist with pediatric patientThe type of support our child life specialists provide is as unique as the children, teens, and families who need it.

Our child life specialists can help you and your child cope with illness, surgery, or other health challenges by providing:

  • Emotional support for families, including sibling help and education
  • Age appropriate play to promote continued growth and development, in play spaces or at the child’s bedside
  • Medical play opportunities to give children a chance to talk about their fears or misunderstandings and to gain a sense of control
  • Special events and celebrations, like birthday parties and holiday events. We also coordinate animal-assisted therapy (dogs and cats) visits
  • Support for children having surgery, procedures, or treatments – using relaxation, distraction, and diversion to reduce fears and anxiety. Includes preparation for the experience, development of coping plans, and opportunities for expression and processing after the experience.
  • Bereavement support for siblings and families in the event of a child’s death

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