Child Life Conference 2011 Update
My remaining time in Chicago for the Child Life Conference was amazing. On Friday, I began the day with a session called Communication Collaboration: Child Life Specialist and Speech-Language Pathologist. The presenters provided numerous videos of infants working with the CLS and S-LP. One practice that I especially liked was to put a ‘comfort plan’ by each crib, unique to that child. Pat me on my tummy when I’m upset, etc.. They also use ‘play plans’ – I’m working on… I enjoy…, etc..
Next I attended A Place of My Own: The Ins and Outs of a Sibling Area in the Hospital. It’s important to remember that although the siblings may be healthy, having a brother/sister that’s ill or is having multiple procedures effects them as well. Some common feelings felt by the siblings could be guilt, anger, saddness, fear, anxiety, social isolation, jealousy, resentment, and/or embarrassment. This may effect their behavior as well. They may regress (thumb sucking, bed wetting, baby talk), have atypical behavior (sleep disturbances, may become a “people pleaser”), cling, temper tantrums, and/or fighting. The presenters showed some videos from siblings and what they felt about the situation. It was eye opening too hear it directly from them. Some of their responses surprised me. The presenters also discussed procedures, scheduling, training, challenges, etc..
I also want to share this STORY/VIDEO from one of the sessions. It blew my mind! How amazing technology is and the good that can come from it. The vGo avatar robot (BatyBot) allows Lyndon Baty to ‘attend school’ while he stays at home all day due to risk of infection from having nearly no immune system.
One of the highlight sessions for me was Cultivating Self-Care Practice to Avoid Compassion Fatigue. The speaker “Boon” was absolutely enchanting. Her style of presenting and the hands-on materials provided was right up my alley. The session was a good reminder to take care of ourselves first. So often, caregivers give and give and give. They over-care or care too much. She provided information about compassion satisfaction, compassion fatigue, burnout and selfcare. She reminded us of an airline oxygen mask…you must put yours on first before you assist others. It’s our duty to practice self-care!
I also attended A Detailed Look at Infant’s Methods of Communication and Considerations for the Hospital Setting and Happiest Baby on the Block: Comfort Techniques for Infants. They both provided a wealth of information, including levels of sleep in infants, cues/behaviors, colic, and the 5 S’s.
The closing session literally brought tears to my eyes. Dr. Andrew Morgan spoke about the Penguin Project. He combined his love of pediatrics and theater to create access to community theater for children with disabilities. A group of children came with him and performed numerous musical numbers. They sang…they danced…they were joyful…and it brought tears to our eyes. Visit the website HERE to learn more or watch the video below.