Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children Child Life professional working with a child

Mar 31, 2015 / Spotlight

Child Life Spotlight: Empowering Children and Families to Master Challenges in Health Care

For more than 30 years, Scottish Rite Hospital has enlisted the services of our Child Life department as a way to treat the “whole child” and make sure each patient is having a positive experience at the hospital. Through this spotlight we hope you will understand a bit more about the field of Child Life and also learn how you can contact this department for your next visit to Scottish Rite Hospital.

What Is Child Life?

Child Life Specialists (CLS) focus on the social, emotional, developmental and educational needs of children and teenagers in the hospital setting. To help reduce fear and promote coping during the visit, a CLS can provide the following services to your child:

  • Prepare and support the patient for medical procedures
  • Educate them about their diagnosis
  • Teach coping techniques to use during medical experiences
  • Engage in medical play
  • Provide outlets for self-expression
  • Support for brothers and sisters

Being Admitted to the Hospital?

Staying at the hospital can sometimes be stressful. Children may be nervous, worried, have questions and/or have behavioral changes prior to a hospitalization.

  • A CLS will meet with your child on admission day to provide age-appropriate preparation for their hospitalization and answer any questions they may have.
  • Pre-admission tours are an extra service available to your child. These can be beneficial to help alleviate nervousness prior to admission day.

Here for a Clinic Appointment?

Coming to the hospital for a clinic appointment can be stressful, too! If your child is nervous or has questions about coming to their appointment, a CLS can help prepare the child by answering questions as well as be present for the following:

  • Cast removal
  • Radiology procedure
  • IV placement
  • Lab draw
  • Surgery discussion
  • Joint injection
  • Radiology procedure (MRI, CT, ultrasound, VCUG, etc.)
  • Anything potentially stressful

Who Makes Up the Team?

Child Life Specialists are professionals who are certified through the Child Life Council. They hold bachelors and/or masters degrees in child development, psychology or a related field. Their training includes a specialized internship in a pediatric hospital setting. Other team members include Activity Coordinators, who have a background in child development. Volunteers assist the Activity Coordinators in organizing patient activities in the inpatient playroom.

Meet Our Child Life Team

Ashleigh Kinney, L.C.S.W. (Director, Child Life)

Cassandra James, M.S., C.C.L.S. (Lead Child Life Specialist)

Lauren Gates, M.S., C.C.L.S., Child Life Specialist (Inpatient)

Andrea Brown, C.C.L.S., Child Life Specialist (Outpatient)

Molly Bass, C.C.L.S., Child Life Specialist (Outpatient)

Mellina McCormick, C.C.L.S., Child Life Specialist (Radiology)

Paige Legan, Child Life Program Coordinator

Christi Foster, Child Life Activity Coordinator

Sarah Coury-Rios, Board Certified Music Therapist

Meagan Johnson, Artist-in-Residence

How to Contact Child Life

As a parent or caregiver, you can request that any hospital staff member contact a Child Life Specialist to meet with your child during their appointment.

To schedule a visit with a Child Life Specialist or a pre-admission tour, please contact the Child Life team. Call 214-559-7795 or email child.life@tsrh.org.

You May Also Like: