The UA Association of Child Life, a student professional organization for those interested in becoming certified child life specialists, is celebrating Child Life Month by collecting toys for the Child Life Program at Children’s of Alabama.
UA students, employees and the public can bring new, unopened toys to collection boxes at the Child Development Research Center located at 651 Peter Bryce Boulevard. The toys will be given to the Child Life Program to help children during their time at Children’s of Alabama by minimizing the stress of their health care experience and providing them some comfort through playing.
“Play is the work of children,” said Emily Roach, president of the UA Association of Child Life. “When children cannot express their fears and emotions through conversation, they can often let their guard down and release their feelings through play. Certified child life specialists use different play activities to explain procedures, to help children become familiar with medical equipment, and to bring normalization and joy into the hospitalization experience.”
Children’s of Alabama serves more than 500,000 children each year from around the state and beyond. Certified child life specialists get to know each patient’s developmental stage, past and current trauma, family, and needs. They build therapeutic, professional relationships with patients and their families so they can prepare patients for procedures, introduce coping strategies for all medical-related circumstances, provide emotional support, normalize the hospital environment to encourage healthy development, and advocate for family-centered care.
“Children’s of Alabama’s child life team works with children in every unit of the hospital, and they are desperately in need of toys and supplies to help supplement their play activities,” said Roach. “These toys will help improve the hospitalization experience for patients by bringing joy and a bit of everyday life into their rooms.”
The UA Association of Child Life provides child life students with professional development and philanthropic opportunities focused on the pediatric population, while further learning about the psychosocial care of hospitalized children. There are around 100 human development and family studies students with a concentration in child life at the University. While group activities focus on these students, it is open to anyone interested in learning more about the field.
The national Association of Child Life Professionals celebrates Child Life Month each March by recognizing the key role child life specialists play in the emotional safety of children and families.
The University of Alabama, part of The University of Alabama System, is the state’s flagship university. UA shapes a better world through its teaching, research and service. With a global reputation for excellence, UA provides an inclusive, forward-thinking environment and nearly 200 degree programs on a beautiful, student-centered campus. A leader in cutting-edge research, UA advances discovery, creative inquiry and knowledge through more than 30 research centers. As the state’s largest higher education institution, UA drives economic growth in Alabama and beyond.