The Child Life Program at Bank Street College of Education has transformed me from not just being a child life specialist, but by inspiring me to set forth and provide services to a much larger community. The wealth of knowledge, hands on experience and continuous support that I receive from my advisors has a lit a fire within myself.
When attending the graduate program, they saw the passion and eagerness I had for the profession. I immersed myself into the learning experience and applied what I was studying in class, to my fieldwork and home life. I let myself become vulnerable, critiqued and ask for help. The support and forward push helped me get through the emotional fatigue and balance of the workload. I became more mindful, reflective and changed the way I viewed obstacles. It was Bank Street that left a powerful imprint in my soul. I knew that whatever position I had in the community, it would come from a place of empathy, resourcefulness and compassion.
In the past year, I have been able to co-teach a child life graduate course at Bank Street and scaffold students with the same nurturing support, that I once received. It was an amazing experience and I think I grew just as much as the students did.
I also started up my own blog called Child Life Mommy. It has been a way for me to globally connect with others in sharing information about working with children and families. So much of what I have learned from school and child life, I apply directly into raising my kids and my relationships with others. Some of the categories are about play, connecting emotionally, preparation for new experiences and creative expression.
The largest accomplishment this year has been publishing a children’s book entitled, “It’s Time For Your Checkup: What to expect when going to a doctor visit“. There is a large gap in service when it comes to preparing children for a routine wellness visit. Child life specialists may not be available or the medical team members don’t have the knowledge in effective ways to decrease anxiety and help children cope through procedures.
This book explains what will occur, using photographs and developmentally appropriate language. It provides strategies for empowerment and healthy ways to cope, by suggesting comfort holds, choice making, medical play, distraction techniques and supportive language. It encourages children and their caregivers to communicate to the medical team and advocate for ways that will help them get through the experience successfully.
The book is also a tool that can be used for children with special needs. It is a social story and explains the events that will occur using the five senses. It is listed on Autism Speaks resource library under, books for children and I hope to have it listed on more.
My goal for the book is for children to have access to it at home, school, libraries, medical settings and community programs. Currently the book is being sold in a paperback version on Amazon and Barnes and Noble online, as well as an electronic copy through Kindle.
My journey on professional growth will continue this year with leading workshops, networking, volunteering and standing out as a proud member of the child life profession and Bank Street Alum.
To learn more, follow me at ChildLifeMommy.com