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Child Life addresses the emotional, social, educational and recreational needs of hospitalized children. Our program utilizes play to minimize stress and anxiety and to foster positive feelings about health care experiences. This includes education and support during procedures, diagnosis education for patients and families, schedules, bereavement support, and providing play to encourage normalization in the hospital setting.
Recognized by the American Academy of Pediatrics and accredited by the Association of Child Life Professionals, our child life team includes certified child life specialists as well as patient activity specialists. Our patient activity specialists work with child life specialists to lead group play sessions for patients and siblings and help organize birthday parties, end of treatment celebrations, and discharge parties as well as coordinating special visitors. Working as part of your medical team, child life is trained to implement therapeutic activities at bedside and in group settings to assist patients and families in the medical setting.
In this podcast, we talk with Brianna Shannon and Sarah Frantz, two child life specialists at Arkansas Children's, about the importance of being a child life specialists.
During your visit to the hospital, child life specialists can assist in reducing your child’s anxiety and promoting positive coping. This may be accomplished through diversion during procedures by focusing your child’s attention on something fun and relaxing, as well as ensuring your child has a developmentally appropriate understanding of their procedures and hospitalization. Our hospital embraces family-centered care and encourages family support during visits. Child life specialists will work to promote a positive coping experience for patients.
If your child is scheduled to have a procedure, a child life specialist may help prepare and teach you and your child what they may experience. The purpose of procedural teaching is to reduce anxiety and let the patient explore and ask questions about their upcoming procedure in a safe setting. Specialists may use medical play, teaching dolls, medical equipment, and pictures of the rooms and people your child will see to prepare them for sensory experiences of their upcoming procedures. Patients may participate in a pre-operative tour of the hospital, encouraging your child’s understanding of the hospital setting. For more information on pre-operative tours, please contact the child life department.
During your child’s visit to the hospital, they may encounter a variety of medical equipment for the first time. Child life specialists use medical play to help your child learn about the hospital and express feelings related to the medical setting. Using real medical equipment and engaging in play, your child can gain a sense of control and understanding. Medical play encourages children to explore the purposes of medical equipment and to take an active role in their health care experience.
The Teen Room at Arkansas Children’s in Little Rock offers a space for teen patients to do crafts, play games and provides opportunities for your teen to meet and socialize with other patients. The Teen Room is available to patients ages 12 years and older and is open 7 days a week during the times listed below.
Monday - Thursday
2:00 – 4:00 PM
6:15 – 8:15 PM
2:00 – 4:00 PM
7:30 – 8:30 PM
Saturday - Sunday
3:00 – 4:00 PM
To protect our patients and with accordance to CDC guidelines, the Teen Room is available for patients for scheduled individual play sessions. To check availability for the Teen Room, please contact your child life specialist.
Big Red Stores Camp Wannaplay at Arkansas Children’s Hospital in Little Rock invites patients and families of all ages to explore and play. Filled with toys, a sensory table, and crafts, Camp Wannaplay offers patients the opportunity to engage in familiar and normalizing play. Children of all ages are invited to Camp Wannaplay; however, adult caregivers must stay with visitors under 14 years of age. Camp Wannaplay is open 7 days a week during the times listed below.
Monday - Thursday
9:30 – 11:30 AM
1:30 – 3:30 PM
6:15 – 8:15 PM
9:30 – 11:30 AM
1:30 – 3:30 PM
6:00 – 7:00 PM
Saturday - Sunday
10:30 – 11:30 AM
1:30 – 2:30 PM
To protect our patients and with accordance with CDC guidelines, group play sessions have been placed on hold and temporarily functioning under different capacities. For additional information on bedside play sessions or CCTV hospital programming, please contact your child life specialist.
Siblings and friends provide important support and encouragement for families during your child’s hospitalization. Siblings and friends may be visiting a hospital for the first time, experiencing new sights and emotions. Child life specialists are available to prepare minor visitors (age 17 years and under) prior to visiting patients to reduce potential anxiety and offer a safe setting for questions about the patient and his/her condition. PLEASE NOTE: due to the COVID 19 pandemic, visitors under the age of 18 are not allowed.
For the safety and well-being of our patients, we ask all visitors to be healthy when visiting the hospital. All visitors will be asked to complete a wellness screening and should not have a cough, runny nose, congestion, fever or diarrhea. If you have any of these symptoms, we ask that you stay home until 48 hours after symptoms stop. Please note, additional visitor restrictions may occur during flu season to reduce the risk of spreading contagious diseases.
For more information on visitor policies, please visit our Visitor Rights and Responsibilities.
Family and friends have the opportunity to send patients well wishes and support with an e-card. To send a patient an e-card, follow the step-by-step instructions of selecting a picture for your card and the option to insert well wishes and thoughts. This card will be printed and hand-delivered to the patient’s room.
Arkansas Children's Hospital is dedicated to the education and further growth of child life specialists. By offering practicum, internship, and fellowship opportunities, Arkansas Children's Hospital allows students to assess and develop therapeutic interventions for children during inpatient and outpatient settings. For more information on each of these opportunities, please read below and click on the program descriptions. For any additional questions, please call the Child Life and Education department at 501-364-1412.
Arkansas Children's Hospital (Little Rock) is proud to offer a child life practicum for students to continue to grow and learn in a clinical setting. A practicum provides opportunities to observe child life interventions with hospitalized children, increase comfort within the medical environment, and increase practical knowledge of child life. The 12-week, 120-hour child life practicum is offered three times a year: spring, summer, and fall semesters.
Students will have the opportunity to observe (3) four-week rotations during the practicum experience, including one activity area-based rotation and two unit-based rotations. Students will be mentored by child life and patient activity specialists throughout their practicum experience. During the practicum, students engage in group discussions regarding observations and child development theory application, readings, and assignments to encourage further understanding of experiences and journaling to encourage reflection.To be eligible for Arkansas Children's Hospital in Little Rock's child life practicum, applicants must have:
Child Life follows the following deadlines for practicum applications:
|For Practicums Starting:||Application Deadline:||Applicant Notifications By:|
|January (Spring)||September 5||Second Thursday in October|
|June (Summer)||January 5||Second Thursday in February|
|September (Fall)||May 5||Second Thursday in June|
The Child Life and Education Practicum Program is currently being restructured and will not be accepting any students for the Fall or Spring semesters.
Arkansas Children's Hospital in Little Rock internship, accredited by The Association of Child Life Professionals, is offered twice a year. Interns are given opportunities to build independent professional skills, therapeutic group play supervision skills and develop assessment & intervention skills with patients of diverse ages and varying diagnoses. Internships are available in the spring and fall semesters and are full time (40 hours per week), 15-week, 600-hour program. Arkansas Children's Hospital in Little Rock follows the Association of Child Life Professionals recommended internship deadlines.
The internship curriculum incorporates child life programming challenges and strategies to address current health care issues. Students experience the following schedule of rotations with one clinical supervisor per rotation.
Rotations may include but are not limited to General Medical and Surgical units, Hematology/Oncology, Orthopedics, Neuroscience/Neurosurgery, Rehabilitation, Emergency Department, and Intensive Care units (Cardiovascular, Neonatal, Pediatric, and Burn). Child life interns may be assigned rotations that include evenings, weekends, and holidays.
To be eligible for Arkansas Children's Child Life Internship, applicants must have:
Arkansas Children's Hospital in Little Rock offers a benefits-eligible paid child life fellowship to encourage continued growth in assessing the psychosocial and developmental needs of children and families during hospitalization and outpatient settings. During this 12-month, entry-level experience, fellows will have the opportunities to independently facilitate therapeutic interventions and design activities that encourage social, emotional, intellectual and physical growth of children. This unique learning experience will allow the fellow to gain independence as a child life specialist while receiving guidance and mentoring from experienced child life specialists working in the field.
To be eligible for Arkansas Children's Hospital in Little Rock's child life fellowship, applicants must have:
For additional information or questions regarding educational opportunities towards becoming a child life specialist, please contact Arkansas Children's Hospital in Little Rock at 501-364-1412.