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Illness, injury, and health care are inherently distressing experiences for most children, adolescents and families. Psychological problems related to childhood illness, injury and treatment include increased juvenile delinquency, lower reading scores, more negative ratings from authority figures, and greater prevalence of reported psychiatric disturbance in middle childhood, adolescence and adulthood.
Awareness of the potential for negative emotional effects caused by illness, injury and health care experience has led to an increased concern for the psychosocial aspects of pediatric care. In response to this concern one of the unique pediatric disciplines that has developed in recent years is the profession of child life. Child Life Specialists are certified members of the health care team who focus on the developmental, emotional, social, and health care education needs of pediatric patients and families. Relying on creative forms of play and other age-appropriate interactions, child life professionals seek to reduce the stress of health care experiences and enable children, adolescents and families to cope effectively with illness, injury and treatment.
Informed, educated professionals and family members can reduce the potential for trauma related to health care experiences of young patients. In conjunction with the Division for Continuing Education, FCS offers courses related to working with children, adolescents and families in health care settings. These courses have been especially developed for students, professionals and other adults interested in issues pertaining to childhood illness, injury and treatment.
FCS 5311: CHILDHOOD HEALTHCARE: DEVELOPMENT & FAMILY ISSUES (Pre-requisites)
This course is designed as an introductory class for persons who want to know more about the psychosocial needs of children, adolescents and families in health care settings and situations. Specific topics covered in this course include: impact of illness, injury and hospitalization on the family; social and developmental issues and how they interface with health care; psychosocial roles of various health team members; an introduction to the field of child life; and a brief overview of helpful interventions for parents, teachers and health care professionals. This is a helpful course for parents, teachers, day care providers, and anyone who is interested in working with children or having children in the future. It is also a good course for increasing one's ability to advocate for the best health care for self and family members.
FCS 5312: CHILDHOOD HEALTHCARE: INTERVENTION SKILLS & TECHNIQUES
FCS 5311 is prerequisite to FCS 5312. The second course in this series is designed to teach techniques helpful in minimizing the potential trauma of childhood health care. Topics to be addressed include: values clarification, interviewing and assessing skills and techniques, the development of supportive relationships with young patients and families, preparation of patients and families for health care experiences, and utilizing play for therapeutic purposes. This is a helpful course for any student interested in pursuing work with children and families, especially in helping professions such as social work, work with DCFS, child/family psychology, counseling, etc.
If you are interested in learning more about the profession and education of child life specialists, or Child Life Certification, there is a monthly meeting you can attend for this purpose. This meeting is held the 3rd Thursday of each month (no meetings in April or May 2013) in the Alfred Emery Building at the University of Utah from 5:30 to 7:00pm. You are welcome to attend any month you want to come to this meeting and there is no need to RSVP. To find out what room the meetings will be held in each semester, contact Laura Gaynard (email@example.com).
These meetings will include information about:
A variety of handouts that relate to the topics mentioned above are also distributed to those who attend the meeting.
Individuals can also log on to the Child Life Council, Inc. website (www.childlife.org) for additional valuable informaion.
Before the first day of class for FCS 5311: Students are required to attend a child life orientation.
Day: Third Thursday of Every month (No meetings in April & May 2013)
Location: Alfred Emery Building (225 S. 1400 E., Salt Lake City, UT)
Must RSVP to Laura Gaynard at firstname.lastname@example.org