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.
So I have been juggling grad school and a practicum. Looking back it might have been best to do the practicum while not in school. With that being said, school is moving along! 🙂 I have one more summer class and then in the fall I have 3 more classes. In the spring I intend on doing an internship and my masters project. I have been brainstorming ideas for my masters project, which hopefully will come to a final decision soon. I am almost done!!!!
I just found out about a training workshop in September for working with children in disaster relief. I also might have an opportunity to get certified training in infant massage instruction, which I had planned on doing! If it is possible I will do both!
However, I do have to keep in mind that I have a lot on my plate already, so if it is not in the cards right away, I will do it down the line.
I am so excited to keep learning!
So this will be week 6 in FL for my child life practicum. I am in an infant toddler program working with the children in the PICU, IMCU, CVCU. The patients come from all over the hospital. I have the opportunity to see my supervisor in action introducing services, providing support, charting, planning calendar activities, easing anxiety during a PICC line, bereavement support. I am planning and implementing therapeutic play activities, providing comfort and distraction to patients, applying developmental theory, writing a case study, and creating a special project for the population. My supervisor says, this practicum will prepare me for the internship. This is so exciting! In the past weeks I made good luck banners to celebrate children who went home. I made a volcano with a patient. It was such a wonderful experience, the patient really enjoyed himself. He was thirteen but developmentally between ten and eleven years. The patient expressed the need for company. It was so great to be there for him. One of my supervisor’s responsibilities is planning all of the events during the week. I have helped host and recruited patients to come to the activities. I used one of my therapeutic play activities of making play dough with a patient. This past week I spent time with a precious 9month old girl who I have decided to do my case study on. I had the opportunity to plan and host ice breakers and self-esteem activities for an off-site cranio facial symposium for children ages 6-12. I also got to assist a 9 year old patient, as she walked 2 laps around the unit. I drove her pole close behind as I cheered her on along with a nurse and a child life supervisor. This weekend I completed my special project, which I will be showing my supervisor this week. I plan to try it out with my 9month old patient. We’ll see how it goes 🙂 I am trying to absorb as much as I can as this is truly a whirlwind that I am so excited to embark upon.
I have some news. Yesterday I had a followup appointment with my pain management doctor. It went well. This is a visit that I went without that gnawing feeling in my stomach, and for good reason! My doctor used the word gone! He thinks my RSD might be gone!!!!!!!!!!!
I have been weaning off my medicine and I have some symptoms but they don’t last longterm. I’m still working hard and still need my physical therapy but he is very happy with what he sees.
I am so frekin lucky its scary! I am so grateful! I still need to push more with exercising and working through pain, and on wearing other shoes but I will not stop!
I thank God!
And I am thankful to my amazing family and friends for the amazing support, thoughts, and prayers!