Child Life Program celebrates Child Life Month

Children today confront a wide variety of stressful and potentially traumatic events that may overwhelm their natural ability to cope and heal. Difficult or unexpected experiences, such as chronic illness, hospitalization, the death of a loved one, or the aftermath of violent acts or natural disasters are upsetting for everyone involved. Children are particularly vulnerable, and parents or other responsible adults may feel unsure of their ability to help children to successfully understand and manage these experiences.

Because children process information from the world around them much differently than adults, they have distinct needs for managing the effects of stress and trauma. Without the assistance of a professional who understands their unique perspective, children of all ages may experience emotions such as fear, shame, confusion and loneliness, which can inhibit their natural development, and have lasting negative effects on their wellbeing. Child Life specialists are trained professionals with expertise to help children and their families overcome life’s most challenging events.

During Child Life Month in March, Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center and Penn State Hershey Children’s Hospital recognize the difference members of the Child Life team make in the lives of the most vulnerable patients every day.

The Medical Center’s Child Life Program is made up of nine Child Life specialists, three Child Life assistants, and a support associate. Members of the Child Life Program can be found in the University Physician Center, Children’s Hospital, Radiology, Emergency Department, and Radiation Oncology.

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Last Updated March 23, 2011