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Child Life Program

Child Life Specialists help children and families manage the stresses associated with hospitalization and illness. Each child life specialist has a unique role as the member of the health care team and focuses on children's individual developmental and emotional needs.

Child Life Specialists are professionals with backgrounds in human development and training to help children and families understand the hospital experience, illness, and related feelings. Whether a child is going to a doctor's appointment, having surgery, staying overnight in the hospital or being seen in the Pediatric Emergency Department, a child life specialist provides emotional support to the pediatric patient and his/her family, with the following goals:

  • Help children express their feelings in a safe and supportive environment.
  • Interact with children in a developmentally and culturally sensitive manner.
  • Help children manage pain effectively.
  • Provide support for children and families in order to maintain family closeness.
  • Offer children choices that increase feelings of independence, self-esteem and trust.

At Boston Medical Center, Child Life Services can be found in the following pediatric areas, and can be paged for other areas.

  • Intensive Care
  • Emergency Department
  • Primary Care
  • Otolaryngology
  • Operating Room
  • Sedation Team

In addition to the care they provide, Child Life Specialists offer or help to coordinate the following, particularly for patients who are in the hospital or chronically ill:

  • Inpatient tutoring services
  • Hospital tours
  • Music therapy
  • Clown care
  • Teaching about new diagnoses
  • Teaching coping skills
  • Play
  • Preparation for procedures and procedural support
  • Early intervention referrals
  • Volunteer opportunities
  • Student internships
  • Holiday toy donations and distribution
  • Non-pharmacological pain management
  • Hospital specialists from the Hole in the Wall Gang Camp
  • Pieces of Home - The Backpack Project

Contact Us

Ashley McLellan, Ambulatory Pediatrics
Phone: 617-414-2576
Pager: 5579
Email:[email protected]

Maura Power, Inpatient Pediatrics/ Intensive Care
Phone: 617-414-4538
Pager: 4536
Email: [email protected]

Stephanie Sharp, Pediatric Emergency Department
Phone: 617-414-2599
Pager: 4359
Email: [email protected]