Who We Are
Child Life Specialists are developmental professionals who are trained in providing evidence-based, developmentally and psychologically appropriate interventions including therapeutic play, preparation for procedures, and education to reduce fear, anxiety, and pain. (ACLP, 2020)
What We Do
The UC Davis MIND Institute Child Life department helps to minimize the anxiety of healthcare visits by providing education and preparation to increase understanding and strengthen coping skills for children receiving specialized care.
We provide developmentally appropriate coping strategies to address the special needs of children. We aim to minimize anxiety and reduce pain via distraction and support, as they participate in clinical studies to further research and understanding in the field of neurodevelopmental disabilities.
We foster family centered care by promoting communication with caregivers who know their child best, empowering them with resources to support their child’s needs at the MIND Institute and in the community.
We offer developmentally appropriate, inclusive and sensory friendly play opportunities and tools for self-expression to support children during assessments, clinic appointments and family-provider feedback sessions. We accompany children during new diagnosis conversations, provide reassurance, education and emotional support.
We provide direct psychosocial and child friendly care to patients and their families through directed play, therapeutic interventions and targeted programming. We host a series of special events annually to encourage and promote socialization and play among children with developmental disabilities and their families. We also empower siblings through our Social Skills – sibling group program and provide virtual resources and programming directly to families via our website and social channels.
How We Can Help
- Preparing families for what to expect at the MIND Institute and offer tools, resources and language to prepare children for success.
- Providing direct support to patients and families during their visits through play, therapeutic interventions and communication.
- Supporting children with procedural lab draws and clinic appointments through education, distraction and coping techniques.
- Offering social opportunities to encourage and promote family engagement, social skills and fun in an inclusive and diverse format within our community.
- Coordinating a volunteer program to support family centered care and accessibility by offering childcare to families for scheduled appointment visits.