Foundational Interventions of Child Life Practice: Using Evidence & Assessment to Differentiate the Tools
This presentation will revisit literature of child life theoretical framework and practice to distinguish the defining qualities and goals of medical play, psychosocial preparation, distraction, and planned alternative focus. Discussion will include considerations for assessment of individual situations to encourage developmentally appropriate care and help identify clear rationale behind choices made. In addition, reviewing seminal writings and comparing them with current literature, practice, and more recent understanding of brain development will aim to support student supervisors and academicians as they teach students, perpetuating clarity and confidence in the work of a child life specialist. The author will discuss the fine, but important, difference between operationalized definitions of concepts often used in research settings and reconciling those definitions with individuals in everyday practice. Experiences of the author on a multidisciplinary research team and within the context of teaching students in the classroom and in clinical training will provide examples for attendees to consider and discuss. Finally, professional conversation regarding perspectives, experiences, and challenges will be prompted to encourage professional growth, understanding, and reflection surrounding these concepts.
Objective 1 Participants will be able to review, examine, and discuss literature describing the differences and similarities between medical play and psychological preparation.
Objective 2 Participants will be able to review, examine, and discuss literature describing the differences and similarities between distraction and alternative focus.
Objective 3 Participants will be able to consider and practice assessing situations in which these interventions could be most appropriate and needed.
Objective 4 Participants will have the opportunity to engage in facilitated group discussion about perspectives and questions related to differentiating medical play, psychological preparation, distraction, and planned alternative focus.
Suggested Domain: Assessment
Katherine Bennett, MEd, CCLS has worked as a Certified Child Life Specialist at Monroe Carell, Jr. Children's Hospital since 2001. She has worked with children and families in the areas of operative surgery, community outreach/education, PICC, inpatient medicine with all age groups, and in the burn center. Currently, she serves as the educator for Child Life & Volunteer Services, planning and coordinating the clinical training experiences for emerging child life professionals, onboarding new employees, working with the department's clinical advancement program and providing education about the needs of children in healthcare settings to colleagues both in and outside the Vanderbilt community. She has written and presented at international conferences and in several published outlets about such topics as medical play and its impact, developmental theory applied to hospitalized children, and teaching child life in the clinical and university settings.
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