Maura Pepek, MS, CCLS, is a Child Life Specialist at Joslin. She spends time with our pediatric patients and their families, offering educational play activities that help reduce stress and anxiety for the whole family. Maura shared insight into her role as a certified Child Life Specialist at Joslin.


What might the average person not understand about why Joslin’s Child Life Services are so vital?

Joslin’s Child Life Services are so vital because we support everyone in the family. We work towards creating a comfortable space for when patients and their families come in for routine care. We can be helpful for many different ways. For example, we support young children with getting their A1C done, site rotations, pump and CGM starts and even flu shots. Sometimes siblings come to clinic and we help answer the tough questions like “why does my brother have diabetes but I don’t?” We use meaningful and educational play for patients and their siblings to feel at ease during their time in clinic.


Can you talk about your role as a Child Life Specialist?

As a Child Life Specialist at Joslin, I help patients understand their diabetes. I use play for patients to feel more comfortable during their visits. I help prepare kids for lab work using medical play and real medical supplies (no needles!) so they know exactly what to expect during their trip to the laboratory. I help children and families learn different coping mechanisms for insulin injections and pump changes. One of my favorite parts of being a Child Life Specialist at Joslin is engaging children and their siblings in medical art. For National Diabetes Month, our activity of the month was test strip art (using expired test strips to create a picture)!

Child life Art with test strips


What tools do you provide to help our patients and their families?

Some tools I provide to help patients and their families are insulin plans, sticker charts, resources and a fun playroom with lots of toys and activities!


What is your favorite part about working with Joslin patients?

My favorite part about working with Joslin patients is that they are resilient and do not view their diabetes as a negative aspect of their lives. Our patients experience childhood just like any other kid! I love seeing children interact in the playroom and discuss their diabetes management with one another. I enjoy having a long-lasting relationship with patients and families who continue to come to Joslin.

Although this content is reviewed by Joslin Diabetes Center healthcare professionals, it is not intended to replace the medical advice of your doctor or healthcare provider. Please consult your healthcare provider for advice about a specific medical condition.