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Child Development Specialists

A hospital can be a scary place for a child. That’s why The Children’s Hospital at TriStar Centennial is proud to offer Child Life Services. Our Child Life Specialist is a child development expert who works to help comfort children and their families during hospitalization.

When your child needs medical or surgical care, we're here for you. A child life specialist will guide your child through the process of being in the hospital and help them understand what is happening and why.

Child Life Services provides coverage in the Pediatric Medical/Surgical Unit, Pediatric Intensive Care Unit, Kids Express, and Emergency Department, and also before, during, and after surgery and other procedures.

Our certified child life specialist is specially trained to:

  • Promote effective coping through age-appropriate medical preparation and education, play, and self-expression activities
  • Provide information, support, and guidance to parents, siblings, and other family members
  • Prepare children for procedures or treatment using child-friendly language
  • Introduce coping techniques to help promote optimal cooperation and handling of various stressors
  • Provide support and distraction during procedures
  • Work with patients and/or siblings who have fears and misconceptions about hospitalization or diagnosis
  • Create a developmentally-appropriate environment and offers opportunities for play and therapeutic expression to enhance coping
  • Promote family-centered care by providing information and support to families as well as patients

Your child life specialist must complete rigorous training in order to work with children in this way.

  • Earned a Bachelor’s degree or Master’s degree, with an educational emphasis on human growth and development, education, psychology, or a related field of study
  • Bound by a code of ethics and standards established by the Child Life Council (CLC)
  • Obtained the Certified Child Life Specialist (CCLS) credential, administered by the CLC
  • Completed a supervised 480-hour (minimum) clinical internship
  • Passed the certification examination
  • Continue to adhere to a minimum standard in order to maintain certification