You are here:

Child Life Emphasis

HDFS | Child Life Course Requirements | Family Life Education | Early Childhood Education | HDFS Careers 

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.

Child Life Council

How to Become Certified

Summary of the Child Life Profession Survey

Child Life Training at the University of Utah in the FCS Department

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.

Child Life Courses (see link to course requirements at the top of the page for information about the entire major)

FCS 5310: Foundations of Child Life  Pre-req: FCS 1500 Lifespan Human Development

Students will be introduced to the basic philosophies and developmental theories that serve as the foundation for principles of Child life practitioners. Students will also experience various interactive intervention techniques including the use of art, music, play, guided imagery and listening skills. This will also include hands-on interactive learning activities including group work, interaction with children of varying
ages as well as traditional learning modalities.

FCS 5311: CHILDHOOD HEALTHCARE: DEVELOPMENT & FAMILY ISSUES   Pre-reqs: FCS 1500 Lifespan Human Development, FCS 2610 Understanding Children's Behavior, FCS 5310 Foundations of Child Life
 Pre OR Co-req: FCS 2620 Child Development Practicum

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.

 Pre-req: FCS 5311 and all of it's pre-reqs

This course 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, child/family psychology, counseling, etc.

Child Life Links

Child Life Council
American Academy of Pediatrics
John Hopkins Magazine—Child Life Article

Last Updated: 6/22/17