Child life theory and practice forum and responses

A newly certified CCLS is working in a 12 bed pediatric unit in a small inner city hospital. The CCLS is eager to be an advocate for children’s health both on the unit and within the community. How should the CCLS begin to accomplish this goal?

400 Level Forum Grading Rubric


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Student points

Met initial post deadline (Wednesday)



Initial post is substantive



Initial post is at least 400 words



Initial post employs at least two citations; one can be text; other must be from an academic source






First response to classmate posted by Sunday



First response is at least 200 words



First response employs at least 2 citations; one can be text; other must be from an academic source






Second response to classmate posted by Sunday



Second response is at least 200 words



Second response employs at least 2 citations; one can be text; other must be from an academic source












1st response:


New! Child Advocate



One of the roles of the child life specialist is to “…advocate for the special needs of children and their families.” (Mayo Clinic, 2016). To be an advocate for someone is to stand up for the patient and for their rights. Although some people may see the role of the CCLS as not as vital for the hospitalization process, they are a large part of the child’s care. With that being said, it is as much of the CCLS’s job to advocate for their patients just as much as anyone else in the health care team. One way for the CCLS can begin to advocate for the patient is to help them cope and be comfortable prior to a procedure. It could be easy for the Dr. or nurse to want to get a procedure done as fast as they can due to other patients, but it is important for the CCLS to address the importance of pre-procedure care and help the child through the process, allowing them time to calm their anxiety about what is happening. It has been shown that “judged instruction in relaxation and coping techniques as the most effective approaches to preparation, not only for surgery, but also for other procedures ranging from finger sticks to oncology procedures” (Thompson, 2009, p.168). No matter what the procedure, it is scary for a child to be in the hospital so to advocate for the child in terms of giving them time to cope is one important thing that the new CCLS can do. By learning different techniques of coping and relaxation, the CCLS can help achieve this goal. Throughout the community, the new CCLS can begin looking into different programs for the children in the community that can help with their development, both physical and cognitive. By providing different opportunities for children, the CCLS is advocating children’s health by getting them up and moving and providing them with different activities that will be beneficial to them. 

When advocating for the children, it is important for the CCLS acknowledge points of view. “It’s okay to dis- agree with others, but do so respectfully, recognizing that dif- ferent perspectives can add richness to the dialogue” (Child Life Documents, 2011, p. 5). There are a lot of people that are included in the child’s care. Although the CCLS needs to be an advocate for the children and their families, it is also important for the CCLS to be respectful when bringing up their suggestions for different plans of care and understand where the other person is coming from. 


Census data revisited. (2016). Retrieved August 1, 2016, from Mayo Clinic of Health Sciences      website,

Child Life Council. (2011). Official Documents of the Child Life Council.  Rockville, MD: Child Life Council Inc.

Thompson, R.H. (2009). The handbook of child life: a guide for pediatric psychosocial care. Springfield, IL: Charles C.           Thomas Publisher, Ltd.


2nd response:

 Tiffini Porter – Advocacy



The CCLS can begin to be a good advocate for children’s health both on the unit and within the community by first developing good working relationships with those the CCLS works with.  Developing good relationships with the nurses, doctors, social workers, clergy and others that will be involved in the day to day care with the pediatric unit will really help her advocate for her children’s health and getting their needs met.  Having a good working relationship with staff really helps the CCLS be able to form an alliance and be able to focus on what the child needs not only to get procedures done medically, but to do so and in a healthy psychological manner that is the least intrusive and emotionally harming for the child.  Being able to advocate for children and make a plan with those involved in the child’s care that will be most beneficial medically, emotionally and psychosocially is ideal and being able to communicate this in a positive and trusting work environment helps get this accomplished for everyone’s benefit especially the child and family.  In the community the CCLS can network and be involved in outreach programs, collaborations, or any other community service projects and advocate for children’s health.  “Individuals shall promote the effectiveness of the child life profession by continuous efforts to improve professional services and practices provided in the diverse settings in which they work and in the community at large.”  (Child Life Council,  2015, p. 3).  The CCLS also needs to know about the children and the children’s families in the pediatric unit to be able to advocate for them.  The CCLS needs to know the children’s illnesses, what procedures are needed, who is working with them, their temperaments, coping strategies, types of play that works best for them, their personalities, their fears, their strengths, information about their families and anything else that will help the CCLS in working with these children.  This will ensure that the CCLS is prepared in advocating for their needs and getting these children the best care.  The CCLS can also empower the caregivers to help support their children through their illness and hospital stay and to help everyone work together as a team.  The CCLS can advocate not only for the child’s needs, but also to help the parents understand what is happening to the child medically and can advocate what is in the child’s medical needs as well as advocate what the parents are going through.  The CCLS will be the one person with the whole picture and it is up to the CCLS to advocate for the child’s health while still focusing on family-centered care.  “Child life specialists must balance the demands of staff members’ roles while intervening for the optimal psychosocial care for the child.  Child life care should reflect respect and understanding of the experience, knowledge and beliefs of other members of the team, while concisely conveying relevant information regarding coping preferences and plans.”  (Thompson, 2015, p. 172-173).



Child Life Council. (2015). Official Documents of the Child Life Council. Rockville, MD: Child Life Council, Inc.

Thompson, R. H. (2009).  The Handbook of Child Life: A Guide for Pediatric Psychosocial Care.  Springfield, IL: Charles C. Thomas Publisher, Ltd.


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