Spring 2014 
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Happy Child Life and Creative Arts Therapy Month

In our second issue, we update you on new milestones in our department and highlight March as "Child Life and Creative Arts Therapy Month." During this time, hundreds of child life programs across the country take the opportunity to educate health care colleagues and the public about the services provided by child life professionals and the importance of effectively addressing the psychosocial needs of children in pediatric settings. By offering child life programming, we recognize the special expertise and skills that child life and creative arts therapies professionals bring to serving children and their families here at Mount Sinai.


Learn more about The Child Life and Creative Arts Therapy Department at Mount Sinai.

March is Child Life and Creative Arts Therapy Month         


Celebrate with special activities March 24-28. Stop by our table outside the cafeteria for a treat and learn about how to help support pediatric patients and their families.

We also look forward to fun events such as KZTV Child Life Bingo, special activities at bedside and an Ice Cream Social
Child Life in the ED
magine a visit to the Pediatric Emergency Department (ED) and images of crying children, frazzled parents, broken bones and bandages come to mind. The ED Child Life Specialist (CLS) helps reduce the trauma of a child's ED visit. For a Child Life Specialist, a typical day involves:
  • Preparing children for medical tests and procedures in a developmentally-appropriate manner. The CLS coaches patients in sessions of "medical play," so that they can make sense out of difficult procedures like IV placements and laceration repairs. Through play, the child rehearses a coping strategy that will help him or her master the event.
  • Providing stress and pain management support during medical tests and procedures. Based on a child's developmental level, various techniques can provide a sense of security and control in an otherwise threatening situation. Involving a caregiver in a comfort hold, redirecting a child's attention toward bubbles or a toy, and encouraging deep breathing are all examples of healthy coping.
  • Creating play experiences for patients and their siblings. Providing children with the opportunity to play creates a more normal, child-centered environment. Since ED visits sometimes require long wait times, activities such as painting a picture, playing a card game or completing a puzzle can put a child's mind at ease while he or she awaits the next step in the treatment plan.
  • Assisting families in meeting comfort needs and communicating with the healthcare team. In a busy healthcare setting, providing a meal, a blanket or answers to important questions can reframe a family's experience as positive. When parents feel confident in the care that their children are receiving, they are better equipped to provide children with the support that they need.

Child Life offers services in the ED seven days a week due to the generous funding of The Friends of Mount Sinai.


Learn about other ways Child Life assists families in the Pediatric Emergency Department.

Garth Brooks Visits The Zone
Special guests Garth Brooks, Chad Greenway and Kyle Rudolph from the Minnesota Vikings visited The Zone in February, spending time with patients and families. The group decorated cowboy hats, played air hockey and appeared live on KidZone TV. 
Recognizing Staff Accomplishments 

Lori Lerma received promotion to Senior Child Life Specialist, effective this month. She will join the department leadership team to further expand her role in managing special projects and supervising staff. 


Tori Levine, Child Life Specialist, co-authored the article "Frequently Asked Research Questions" as a member of the Child Life Council (CLC) Research and Scholarship Committee. The article appeared in the CLC Bulletin Winter 2014 issue and addresses questions such as "What's the difference between research and quality improvement?" and "How do I fit research into my already busy schedule?


Toshiko Nonaka, Child Life Specialist, received acceptance of her Master's thesis to the CLC Bulletin Spring 2014 issue. She used content analysis and basic quantitative method to analyze collected data in her work, "Japanese Parents' Perceptions about Children's Medical Play."


Todd O'Connor, Senior Creative Arts Therapy Supervisor, presented on music therapy in "Intersecting Arts: Points of Collaboration Within an Arts in Medicine Program" at the Converging Disciplines at the Crossroads of Cancer Care symposium in January at Beth Israel Medical Center.


Diane Rode, Director, provided a two-day play review visit in January to the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago through the CLC's program Innovative Solutions in the Modality of Play. Diane offered consultation services with another senior child life field expert to help Lurie identify and implement a new cadre of innovative practices and services.


Sarah Yazdian, Palliative Care Art Therapist, recently secured licensure as a Creative Arts Therapist (LCAT), in addition to her certification as a Child Life Specialist (CCLS). Sarah works with patients and families in Pediatrics and the Adult Palliative Care unit providing psychosocial, emotional and bereavement support using the creative arts.


Check us out on Facebook to learn about more recent happenings.

Welcoming New Staff
Welcome to two new staff members - Jennifer Reeves and Brianna Silverberg: 
  • Jennifer comes to the Pediatric Emergency Department as a weekend child life specialist after completing a 2013 internship with Mount Sinai. When not in the ED, she also works as an on-call nanny. Jennifer is originally from St. Petersburg, Florida and likes knitting and scoping out Pinterest craft projects.

  • Brianna joins The Zone as a child life assistant and previously completed an internship at Miller Children's Hospital in Long Beach, California. Born and raised in New Jersey, Brianna enjoys travel, photography,  time with family and (unfortunately) reality TV shows. 

Child Life and Creative Arts Therapy Department
Mount Sinai Kravis Children's Hospital
One Gustave L. Levy Place, Box 1153
New York, NY 10029

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