Child Life: Smile Specialists at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia

Child Life: Smile Specialists at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia


>>A LOT OF TIMES KIDS DON’T
EVEN KNOW THAT WE’RE CALLED CHILD LIFE SPECIALISTS. A LOT OF KIDS WILL
CALL US CAMP COUNSELORS. WE’RE TRAINED TO HELP KIDS
UNDERSTAND THE HOSPITAL AND THE MEDICAL PROCEDURES
THAT THE NURSES AND DOCTORS REQUIRE THEM TO DO EVERY DAY. A LOT OF OUR ROLE IS
TEACHING KIDS ABOUT PROCEDURES BEFORE THEY
HAPPEN HERE AND THEN GOING WITH THOSE TO THOSE
PROCEDURES AND HELPING COACH THEM THROUGH, EMPOWER THEM
A LITTLE BIT THAT MIGHT BE A LITTLE BIT SCARY AND
THINGS THAT ARE NOT NORMAL FOR THEM. I BASICALLY MAKE
MY OWN ROUNDS. SO I WALK AROUND. I SEE WHO’S HERE ALREADY. I SEE WHAT’S GOING ON AND
THEN I’M JUST ALWAYS TRYING TO BUILD RELATIONSHIPS. THE MORE I CAN TALK TO
PATIENTS AND SIBLINGS AND PARENTS THE BETTER.>>CHILDREN OFTEN DON’T HAVE
WORDS–OR THE ABILITY TO PUT THEIR FEELINGS INTO WORDS–
AND SO USING ART OR CLAY OR WE HAVE MUSIC
THERAPY HERE AS WELL. HAVING ANOTHER MODALITY
TO HELP THEM EXPRESS THEIR FEELINGS WHEN THEY CAN’T
ALWAYS PUT IT INTO WORDS. I’M HERE TO HAVE FUN,
MAKE THIS A FUN ENVIRONMENT, A SAFE ENVIRONMENT, BUT
THEN ALSO HELP WITH SOME OF THE HARD STUFF. YOU GUYS NEED A WAY TO
TELL YOUR CHILD A LOT OF THE HARDER THINGS THAT YOU ARE
GOING TO HAVE TO GO THROUGH. AND I’M HERE FOR
MOM AND DAD TOO, JUST TRYING TO HELP THEM
DEVELOP THEIR OWN COPING PLAN FOR THEIR FAMILY.>>IT’S A REALLY REWARDING
FEELING TO MEET A FAMILY WHO IS REALLY, REALLY NERVOUS
BEFORE THEY KNOW WHAT I’M GOING TO SAY AND WALK OUT
THAT VISIT AND HAVE A KID SAY, “I’M EXCITED TO GO TO
THE HOSPITAL TOMORROW.”>>WE TRY TO RECREATE A MORE
LIKE REGULAR ENVIRONMENT TO TRY TO MAKE THE
HOSPITAL NOT SEEM SUCH AN ABNORMAL SETTING.>>YOU ALWAYS FEEL LIKE I DID
A GOOD JOB WHEN THERE’S KIDS THAT THINK THEIR HEART
SURGERY IS GOING TO BE A BIG ADVENTURE RATHER THAN THIS
SCARY THING THAT THEY DON’T REALLY UNDERSTAND.>>THIS IS BEAUTIFUL. DID YOU MAKE THIS FOR TINA? SOME OF THE MOST SURPRISING
THINGS THAT CAN HAPPEN IN THE PLAYROOM ARE KIDS
JUST WILL BE COLORING, WILL BE PLAYING AND THEN
ONE KID WILL JUST SAY, “I LOST MY HAIR JUST LIKE
YOU DON’T HAVE ANY HAIR RIGHT NOW.” THINGS LIKE THAT AND THEY
JUST KIND OF START TALKING ABOUT IT. BUT THEY ARE STILL PLAYING,
THEY ARE STILL COLORING. IT’S JUST KIND OF NORMAL
TO THEM BUT THEIR LEARNING THROUGH IT. IT’S A VERY COOL
PART OF MY JOB.>>I’M ALWAYS SURPRISED
HOW QUICKLY KIDS RECOVER FROM SOMETHING THAT WOULD
TAKE US, AS ADULTS, WEEKS AND WEEKS AND WEEKS TO RECOVER. EVEN ON A KID’S WORST DAY
THEY STILL WANT TO PLAY AND BE A KID AND HAVE FUN. IT’S A GOOD
REMINDER FOR US ALL.>>I WOULD SUPPORT CHILD LIFE
ANYWHERE BECAUSE IT’S SO IMPORTANT FOR THESE KIDS
TO HAVE SOME NORMALCY IN THEIR LIFE.>>DONATING TO OUR DEPARTMENT
JUST HELPS US GET THE STAFFING AND THE TOOLS AND THE
EQUIPMENT AND WHATEVER WE NEED TO TRY TO MAKE ALL
THIS MEDICAL STUFF SEEM A LITTLE MORE
REGULAR FOR A KID.>>AS A CHILD LIFE DEPARTMENT
WE ARE PRIMARILY FUNDED THROUGH DONATIONS. WE ARE SEEN, BASICALLY, AS
SORT OF LIKE A GIFT WE GIVE TO KIDS AND
FAMILIES IN THE HOSPITAL. WE SEE EVERY KID IN THE
HOSPITAL NO MATTER WHAT. THAT IS, YOU KNOW, PRIMARILY
FUNDED THROUGH PEOPLE WHO ARE GENEROUS AND WANT TO DO
SOMETHING THAT MAKES KIDS HAPPY AND PRETTY MUCH
EVERYTHING YOU SEE IN THE PLAYROOM AND EVERYTHING WE
USE WITH KIDS IS GIVEN TO US THROUGH GRATEFUL DONORS. EVERYTHING IN THIS PLAYROOM
SENT BY PHILANTHROPY AND PEOPLE WHO JUST
WANT TO HELP.

1 Comment

  1. Shahin Reza says:

    I love you so much better than the other

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