Over 1,000 child life specialists and related professionals gathered in Orlando, Florida on May 19-22 to celebrate the Child Life Council 34th Annual Conference on Professional Issues. The conference is the largest gathering of child life professionals from around the globe each year, where attendees have the opportunity to take advantage of professional development sessions, connect with colleagues, and network with different vendors and organizations like enCourage Kids, who work towards the advancement of the child life profession.
Understanding Child Life
When a child is admitted to a hospital with a child life program, they are often greeted by a child life specialist, a pediatric health care professional who works with children and families in hospitals and other settings to help them cope with the challenges of hospitalization, illness, and disability.
“The child life profession encompasses caring for the whole child and family. In a family centered system, we look at children, teens, young adults, and their families as a whole and work with the strengths of that family to provide some normalization for their environment when they’re in the healthcare setting,” explained Gloria Mattera, Director of Child Life and Developmental Services at Bellevue Hospital Center. “We help them understand what is happening and we encourage them to use their family strengths to cope with their situation.”