What is a Child Life Specialist?

what-is-a-child-life-specialistWhen a family or child needs a child life specialist, there are many questions as to what exactly that type of specialist does. Jobs in this field are among the most rewarding and compassionate careers because these professionals choose to help those who need that extra bit of comfort or encouragement.

What A Child Life Specialist Does

A child life specialist will help children and their families adjust to different lifestyles caused by health issues. If a child has a disability or is placed in a hospital or diagnosed with an illness, a specialist may be referred to meet with the family. The specialist will go over the child’s needs and help the child and family build a routine that works for them all. The specialist will also help the family learn what to expect during different points in time. Sometimes they will help the family get through very tumultuous times.

Ways they Help

According to childlife.org, these specialists provide guidance and support to the family and child. They also encourage growth through play, free expression and many other methods of learning. The specialist will be hands-on when it comes to:

  • teaching the child basic coping mechanisms
  • teach how to overcome many obstacles
  • show how to be proud of even the smallest achievements

The specialist shows how to handle the stress of the:

  • illness
  • disability
  • hospitalization
  • any other set-backs that may come along

Certificates Needed

It is mandatory that the applicant have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree with an emphasis on education that deals with:

  • human growth and development
  • psychology
  • another related field

On top of that, the applicant will have to put in quite a bit of clinical time to prepare for certification. The toughest part of the whole process is going in front of the Child Life Council to receive the certificate, but it does not end there. To remain certified, persons must  continue to grow and educate themselves with all:

  • practices
  • laws
  • regulations

There are many specialists out there. Not all of them work specifically with children to make them happier, healthier and more comfortable with their own lives. Child life specialists who work with these children are very knowledgeable and skilled in their profession. They have to truly enjoy it to continue doing it.

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