Certified Child Life Specialists: The Unsung Hospital Heroes

Starlight Children’s Foundation depends immensely on Certified Child Life Specialists and the work they do with seriously ill children and their families. But who are Child Life Specialists and what do they do?

A Child Life Specialist is a healthcare professional that works in a pediatric environment providing support for children and families to help cope with the stress and uncertainty of hospitalization. Armed with a strong background in child development, Child Life Specialists work amongst the multidisciplinary team to not only reduce anxiety, fear and pain for children but also, engage them in medical play, diagnosis education, procedural preparation and help kids be kids.

This is where Starlight and Child Life Specialists come together. Starlight’s programs – Starlight Gaming, Starlight Hospital Wear, Starlight Virtual Reality, Starlight Spaces and Starlight Deliveries – are all focused on delivering happiness through play, entertainment, comfort, socialization and normalization to children while they are dealing with their illness, trauma, or injury. Child Life Specialists are able to use Starlight Programs to help them integrate play into the child’s day or have a child use it during a procedure to provide them with emotional or procedural support.

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Eugene Johnson, Child Life Coordinator for Huntsville Hospital, explained that he has been able to utilize Starlight Gaming during children’s procedures to help reduce anxiety and allow the kids to feel like kids.

“One of our patients who receive chronic infusions has enjoyed this gift tremendously. His mom told me this week that the morning they were coming to the clinic, she woke up at 6:30 am with him standing by the bed, dressed for the clinic. When asked why he was up early, he said he had been too excited about playing at our clinic to sleep any longer. At the clinic he played the Fun Center the entire time, and was proud to show me his accomplishments in the different games he was playing. His mom was glad to see him make a friend with a teenage patient who spent a majority of the time with him,” explained Johnson.

Happiness delivered.

Starlight programs are in over 800 hospitals and facilities in the US. With the help of Child Life Specialists, Starlight programs have impacted over 60 million kids and families since 1982.

Donate today to provide Starlight programs free of charge to Child Life Specialists, so they can focus on delivering happiness to seriously ill kids.

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