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Child Life Services

 

Child Life Specialists are child development professionals who specialize in supporting children, adolescents and their families through illness, injury and healthcare experiences. We work closely with other pediatric team members to help reduce your child’s stress and to promote normal growth and development.

All Joslin patients and families are welcome to participate in a variety of therapeutic and recreational play activities. These services are available daily in the pediatric waiting area during clinic visits, and in the exam rooms and the laboratory when procedures are necessary.

Ways We Can Help

  • Prepare children for upcoming medical procedures and lab work.
  • Help them cope with injections, blood checks, or taking other medications.
  • Help children manage medical treatments and schedules.
  • Help you understand your child’s view of diabetes and its treatment.
  • Help siblings to understand a brother/sister’s diabetes.
  • Provide ideas on how to talk about diabetes with children’s friends and classmates.
  • Engage children in meaningful play to reduce stress and help them feel more comfortable during visits.

Suggestions for Preparing Children for Upcoming Office Visits

Let younger children know about the visit about two days in advance and older children about one week in advance.

  • Include a fair warning about any blood work that may be needed. If no blood work is scheduled, let your child know that you do not expect any blood to be drawn. But also say that you won’t know for sure until you ask the doctor or nurse. It is important to avoid false promises because sometimes a medical need arises.
  • Encourage children to bring along something special to office visits, such as a doll or blanket, to help them feel less nervous.

Suggestions for Difficulty with Injections

  • Draw up the insulin and prepare all necessary materials before calling the child into the room for the injection.
  • Try following a routine. For example, a child may have a particular position or chair that he/she likes to sit in.
  • Offer appropriate choices. For example, identify two injection sites for the child to choose from.
  • Younger children often respond well to distraction with a favorite book, toy, T.V. show or video.
  • Older children may benefit from using a squeeze ball or counting or trying different slow-breathing techniques.

Contact Information

To contact a Child Life Specialist at Joslin, please call
617-732-2603
or email childlife@joslin.harvard.edu

Page last updated: October 21, 2014