Child Life Month: Surprise Feature via The Starlight Foundation!

18 Mar

In honor of “Child Life Month,” The Starlight Foundation, which supports Child Life Specialists as they develop holistic programing and positive coping modalities for children and families under stress during pediatric hospitalizations has chosen to feature and acknowledge respective therapists from across the country. Click here for my feature! Thank you so much Starlight Foundation NYC! … Your unwavering support of happy, healthy children is amazing!

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Child Life Tip of the Day!

13 Mar

Children are multi – modal learners. Simply put, this means that there is no “one size fits all” way to teach / reach children when relaying new information. This is especially true when attempting to impart complicated medical jargon to school-age children. Keeping things simple by using quick hands-on activities that incorporate the 5 senses (touch, sound, taste, smell, and hearing) can be a novel way to keep kids engaged as they learn about their bodies and possible medical treatment options.

Below, is a sticker patient activity medical students and I utilzed to teach young ones about their bodies, including lessons on specific organs, their various functions, and propper names using bright colorful stickers and lables. Our health fair table (last summer) was a big hit! Simple activities such as these, found at Oriental Trading Company, can make learning not only interesting but fun as well!

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The Man / Woman in the Iron Mask

13 Feb

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In a world where things can be SO overwhelming and everyone wants a piece of you .. Make sure you take time for yourself … Self care is a beautiful and very necessary thing!

A Word About Valentine’s Day for Children

13 Feb

Lessons of love for children on Valentine’s Day

Raising 5 Kids With Disabilities and Remaining Sane Blog

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Does everyone remember those years in elementary school when we’d bring valentines from home and put them in a big “mailbox” decorated with paper hearts? I loved the anticipation! The box would sit up near the teacher’s desk, and all day I’d sneak glances at it, waiting for that magic moment when we’d all take a turn “delivering” the valentines to each other. It was a favorite holiday of mine; a happy day about love! My parents did not have a lot of money, and even if they did, I am sure my dad would not have wasted it on such things as store bought Valentine’s Day cards. However, I took delight in designing and decorating valentines for my fellow classmates. Using construction paper and crayons, my pictures were not perfect and my words were misspelled, but I was always pleased with my creations, especially because I would attach a…

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It’s Time For Your Checkup

26 Dec

Calling all parents! Please support wonderful mother and Child Life graduate alum from Bank Street College of Education, Ms. Shani Thornton on her new pediatric publishing initiative!

Child Life Mommy


It’s Time For Your Checkup

It's Time For Your Checkup

Taking children to the doctor can be incredibly overwhelming for parents. Children can often become frightened and anxious with what will occur. They may not fully understand what will happen and why. The new environment, medical team, or previous clinical experience may increase their fears and make it that much more difficult.

As a child life specialist, I know what will typically occur at the visit. I prepare my own children for what will happen and teach them coping strategies to get through procedures such as a blood test or vaccination.

I know that many parents struggle with how to get their child ready and to support them best during the visit. I have created a preparation book to do just that. It is a wonderful tool to use before and after a checkup. It is filled with photographs and explanations using the five senses…

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Sanity Breaks: Part 2

2 Dec

imageA while ago I created a post about the importance of taking what I affectionately call “Sanity Breaks.” I went on to talk about how magically delicious they were and how important it was to fit them into ones life. Like most people, I forgot to take my own advice. LOL : ]). As time went on, I got away from my healthy routine and fell into a super stressed, super anxious state. Everything was overwhelming … work, classes, my personal life. While I began not long ago to take steps to remedy these concerns, I also got the itch to “escape” … to just get away and disappear from the world with no distractions or responsibilities. Sometimes this is easier said than done. With the prompting of a close friend and a few coins I’d been saving up, I randomly booked a flight to the U.S Virgin Islands. I told a few family members and friends, then, just as suddenly, I left crazy Manhattan life and a sudden 20 degree cold weather snap behind.

As impromptu as this trip was, it was exactly what the faux doctor in my mind ordered. I went only for the weekend, but pulling the escape hatch on life was just what I needed. I went with no plans, expectations, to do list, morning alarms, or schedules. I just soaked up to some sun, ate delicious “home foods,” woke up according to my internal body clock, caught up with family from the island (St. Thomas), then on my last day, sat on the beach with my notebook and reflected. I was living a completely un-regimented life; the free-spirited hippie that lives inside me was overjoyed; she’d been stuffed away for a time. At the end of those four days, I felt amazing. It was in one of those moments of reflection that I had my lightbulb epiphany moment and realized, I had just taken the most epic “sanity break” ever! Not only did I get a change of scenery (and the chance to take the great photos included in this post), but I also got a chance to recoup, collect myself, and just recalibrate my mental / emotional state … It felt awesome. In the end, I rekindled my desire to start traveling while finding this long elusive sense of peace that’s been missing for quite a while now. This whole trip reminded me once again, how self-care and mental health check-ins are key to healthy living. The body can’t function on daily tasks if the mental core is frazzled. My take home lesson? Listen to your body. It will tell you what it needs and if it’s calling for a break … Don’t wait for things to fall apart before you act.

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How Far Would You Go to Save Your Child? … Breakthrough Pediatric Cancer Treatment & HIV Injections

27 Nov

A cancer diagnosis is never easy to hear, especially when it pertains to a little one who, if life goes as planned, should have a lifetime ahead of them. While the prognosis and survival rate for childhood leukemia has improved over the years (nearly quadrupling since the 1960’s) many families still are left to make some very difficult decisions. One of the more interesting treatment breakthroughs from a scientific standpoint, especially as I plan to apply to medical school next fall, is the idea of modifying the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) to treat / cure cancer. While controversial to be sure, this new treatment plan is giving families another last shot option to save their child’s life. It begs the question, how far would you go?

“Hippie Things”

4 Oct

I stumbled upon this great organic farmers market / holistic living street fair not long ago during my trip home to Connecticut during the Labor Day holiday. The focus of the market was centered primarily on clean eating and health living (self care). Raw / organic fruits and veggies, all natural beauty supplies (made from goat’s milk), creative arts corners, $5 massages from a licensed massage therapist, and live music were just some of the great vendor options available. SO awesome, I even convinced mom to get her 1st massage ever. She loved it ^_^ .. Just wanted to share a quick personal video from a wonderfully peaceful, fun day.

The importance of getting a Masters in Child Life

3 Oct

Another excellent post from Shani Thorton highlighting the field of Child Life and my Graduate School alma matter, Bank Street College of Education .

Child Life Mommy

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If you follow the Child Life Council and have read their latest Bulletin, then you are aware of the current changes in progress. As of 2022, all Certified Child Life Specialists must hold a Masters in Child Life (Child Life Council Bulletin, 2013, p.7).

Undergrad students who plan on becoming a child life specialist may question if they think it is necessary to get a Masters.  Well my answer would be yes and I am here to tell you about one of the most esteemed child life programs in the country, Bank Street College of Education.

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Currently there are only four Masters in Child Life Graduate programs in the country. Bank Street has always met the requirements of the Child Life Council (CLC) and has actually gone above their requirement of fieldwork hours from 480 to 600. There are many amazing reasons why Bank Street is the best fit…

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What Does PT For a Baby Look Like?

16 Sep

Bright Star Physical Therapy

Therapist Savina Kollmorgen works with Baby E., who has torticollis, but she just thinks that she is playing. (Videotaped with parental permission.)

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