What we think and what we think not of childhood:
Minor health concerns in infancy and childhood happen to our children but for others, chronic health conditions occur. It interferes with their everyday life throughout their growing years. Often, those with chronic illnesses are barred from most activities and games that children usually have fun with. These children look different from others and hence, feel the same, too. Worse, they may experience painful and repeated treatments and have long hospital stays that can be frightening and lonely.
The Kythe Child Life Program has endeavored over the last two decades to make a difference in the lives of chronically ill children. We proved that having an illness and being confined in the hospital for long durations are not reasons for not continuing to grow, develop, and bloom.
Our chronically-ill children have been given opportunities for continued development – physically, cognitively, and socio-emotionally. They are assisted by our Child Life Coordinators in educating and preparing them about their illnesses and the procedures, providing opportunities for play, being with them during procedures. Likewise, the Kythe Child Life Coordinators assure that the children, their parents, and siblings are given the emotional support they so need. We do this to improve chances at continued growth and healthier coping and encourage some laughter and fun instead of anxiety and fear during stressful and painful healthcare experience.
Work has started at standardizing the Child Life Program, at providing good training and continuing education for our Child Life Coordinators, at evaluating and monitoring our program and services and at embarking on research to ensure evidence-based practices. We remain steadfast in our vision of improving the quality of life of our pediatric patients and addressing their psychosocial needs.
We encourage you to continue to be with us and we extend a heartfelt Thank You to the Kythe Child Life Team — devoted volunteers, supportive donors and sponsors, and dedicated affiliate hospitals. It would never have been possible without them. We now move forward to larger and brighter plans. for your dedication and support that has brought us this far …and will bring us where we intend to go.
Angie Sievert-Fernandez, PhD