Medical play is a way for art therapist Janis Yoshikawa to help Gyselle Medrano relax when faced with medical procedures.
What is a "Child Life specialist?"
Child Life specialists work to prevent and lessen the damaging emotional and developmental effects of illness on hospitalized children and their families. They help kids to be kids, under the stresses and strains of their illnesses and treatments.
In 1986, the Association for the Care of Children’s Health established the Child Life Certifying Commission to standardize the training and practices of therapists working in these programs. Certification in Child Life requires a bachelors or advanced degree, plus professional experience in the field. Candidates then serve a comprehensive internship in a recognized Child Life program, usually hospital-based, supervised by a certified Child Life specialist. Several institutions in the United States now offer degree programs in Child Life.
What is therapeutic play, and how does it contribute to medical care?
Medical play with authentic materials supports the release of anxieties and fears and gives kids a chance to prepare for and master particular procedures. By knowing what they will be going through, the timeline and materials that will be used, it becomes less scary and children are better able to cope.
Creating a hospital book, or diary, about their experience also helps children ease the stress of hospitalization.
Both medical play and book-making activities are examples of therapeutic play. Therapeutic play helps children continue along the development path, giving them tools to handle the stress of medical procedures. Materials and activities are selected to enhance normal growth and development, as well as to teach about the hospital experience. All activities have a purpose.
|Senior Child Life specialist Tom Collins helps Zaira listen to dolly's heart as her parents look on.|