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Child Life Specialists


Our Child Life Specialists are trained professionals who help children and their families overcome challenging events. They provide emotional support for families and caregivers.

During a hospital stay, children may be faced with stressful and traumatic situations that could overwhelm their ability to cope and heal. 

Children process information much differently than adults, and therefore have distinct needs in managing the effects of stress and trauma. With the help of a child life specialist, pediatric patients and their families at Niswonger Children's Hospital receive the help they need to overcome some of life's most challenging moments.   Child life specialists are experts in child development, who promote effective coping through play, preparation, education, and self-expression activities. 

Focusing on the psychosocial needs of children and collaborating with parents and other members of the hospital team, child life specialists aim to:

  • Ease a child's fear and anxiety;
  • Encourage understanding and cooperation;
  • Engage and energize children and families by coordinating special events, entertainment, and activities;
  • Consider the needs of siblings or other children who may also be affected by a child's illness or trauma;
  • Provide support for the patients and their families; and
  • Provide education and resources.

Child life specialists help children to effectively manage stress and to heal faster. Children may experience emotions such as fear, shame, confusion and loneliness when staying in the hospital, and these feelings can inhibit their natural development. Our team understands that a child's well-being depends on the support of families and caregivers, and work with each family to provide the information, guidance and help they need.