Last week I attended the annual Child life Greater New York conference. This was the second one I have been to. It was a wonderful chance to meet people in the child life world. It was also great to see my fellow classmates and teachers! There were great presentations beginning with an awesome keynote speaker! I was moved as the woman spoke about her experience as a mother with children who experienced hospitalization. I was particularly moved when she described when her young daughter shared her hospital experience with her classmates. She explained the intense fear of her daughter scaring the children with details of her hospitalization. Instead she was blown away at her daughter’s ability to recall the words used when she was educated by a child life specialist about a “magic wand” that was used to help her get better. This for me highlighted the power that child life specialist’s have with word choices! It definitely eased the child’s anxiety and confidence in sharing her experience with her classmates.
At the conference I attended a great presentation about providing services according to the individual child. I already knew the importance of this but it was a great opportunity to hear, gain perspective from providing services for children with Autism Spectrum Disorders. I also attended a presentation about alternative settings where child life fits in. It was a great opportunity to align the child life skill-set to various job descriptions. I also had the chance to identify the skill-set that would make for a strong child life private practice.
The last presentation I attended was about the power of words and utilizing it with patients and parents. There was a woman who was a mother of a patient who spoke of her experiences with different professionals and how the words made a significant difference in how she felt.We also watched some clips of different people who shared their experiences with hospitalization and how they were treated. We watched a clip of a teen who was experiencing a deteriorating neurological disorder. She wrote an incredible speech about her experience with her condition. It was one of those speeches I couldn’t help but get choked up about it. The presenter then spoke about her role with parent to parent engagements. She provides support and provides a writing project to enable the parents to cope. This is a beautiful approach that inspires me as I move forward.
It was a great day! I definitely recommend doing what you can to attend any local child life conferences, as it is beneficial for networking, gaining perspective, and adding great resources to your tool box.