Child Life Specialists

Child LifeComing to the hospital can be a scary experience. Strange places and new faces can be confusing and upsetting for patients and families. Child life specialists in the Division of Pediatric Gastroenterology at Hasbro Children's Hospital can help familiarize children and parents with their new environment and address any fears that may arise.

Who are child life specialists?

Certified child life specialists are professionals who are trained in the areas of child life development, play and psychology. They have been specially trained to work with children who are dealing with health problems, and the concerns and reactions that arise due to hospitalization and illness. They help to promote optimum development in children by reducing stress through preparation and education.

Child life specialists offer choices in order to better help patients feel independent and in control, as well as build their self-esteem. Child life specialists work to assist families in maintaining normalcy and enhancing coping abilities.

As members of the medical team, child life specialists work to create an atmosphere that is family-centered and therapeutic. Child life specialists are advocates who are competent and available to help patients and families.

Services that child life specialists can provide during GI clinic visits include:

  • Preparations for tests, procedures, and/or surgery through the use of developmentally appropriate medical play and of teaching materials
  • Support for patients and/or families during a procedure by providing emotional support and/or distraction
  • Choices; which allow patients a chance to make decisions, practice present skills and master new ones

In addition to individual support service, child life specialists co-lead the Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) Support Group.

Learn more about Hasbro Children's Hospital's Child Life Services.