kids call the shots at Dayton Children's teddy bear clinic
celebrating March as child life month
Ten-year-old Lupe left Dayton Children’s Hospital with a new doctor certificate and a stuffed bear, who despite sporting a bright blue bandage, was in the peak of health. She was one of dozens of children who learned all about medical procedures then got to practice those skills on stuffed animals during Dayton Children’s teddy bear clinic.
“The benefit of a teddy bear clinic is that it lets the child be in charge,” says Lori Alfers, child life specialist. “Not only do they learn about procedures like X-rays or stitches in a fun way, they get to decide which ones their bear will have. It allows them a sense of control and empowerment.”
Child life specialists hosted the event to celebrate March as child life month. A child life specialist focuses on the emotional support and developmental needs of Dayton Children's patients and families – it’s a job you’ll find only at a children’s hospital. As part of a patient's health care team, they help a child cope with illness, injury, treatment and procedures. The staff use play, preparation, education and self-expression activities to help children understand why they are receiving medical care. Child life specialists make the hospital fun instead of scary!
“We use a variety of distractions to engage a child during medical care – bubbles, lights, iPads, games or music, for example,” says Alfers. “For those who stay in the hospital for longer periods we also host daily activities, because it’s important for a kid to still be a kid.”
To learn more about Dayton Children's child life specialist, watch the video.
Child life specialist Rita Falkenbach shows the material that casts are made of, then offers to bandage the bear's paw.
Music therapist Lindsey Steinbrunner gives each child their certificate proclaiming their medical skills.