Child Life Conference 2012 Continued…
As I mentioned in this post, I attended the National Child Life Conference this past May. As usual, it was a very valuable conference. I’d like to highlight some of my favorites for you.
The opening session keynote speaker was Steve Gross, Chief Playmaker and founder of the Life is Good Playmakers, a non-profit that uses joyful play to strengthen and heal children whose lives have been deeply impacted by poverty, illness, and violence.
Watch the video below to learn more.
Steve was full of energy and wonderfully fantastic! Steve believes that happiness is a choice. We need to be joyful! We are happy by circumstance (home, job, relationships) only about 10% of the time. We can choose to smile more and have a positive self-worth. He says to “Be here now or you’re nowhere…” Live in the moment. My favorite quote from Steve is that “You can’t spread what you don’t have!” He posed the question, “What’s SUP with you?” How many Subjective Units of Playfulness do you have? Not too many? What are you going to do to bring more JOYfulness into your life?
I also attended a session entitled “Visual Supports: Not Just For Autism.” They began by calling up two volunteers and instructed them to play the game ABLOOGA. They both seemed dumbfounded and tried to fake their way through the game. The presenters even belittled them a bit in front of the audience. “Aren’t you child life specialists? I thought you’d be experts in play. Apparently not.” After the two participants were shown a visual layout of the game, they easily figured out how to play and what they were supposed to do. Visual supports affect our behavior each and every day. How many of you use visual supports? Nearly all, I bet. Did you wake up and look at the clock, use a watch, street sign, etc.? Children can benefit from visual schedules and visual behavior supports as well.
Other sessions I attended were Interventions for the Chronically Ill Child, Why Can’t Mommy Play with Me?, Creating a Culture of Change: Advocating for Family-Centered Care, and Child Life Practicum. The closing session was a moving and inspiring keynote by Dr. Jeni Stepanek , mother of Mattie Stepanek. You may have heard of Mattie Stepanek, a well-respected poet and peace activist. He lived a life that was brief in length but powerfully blessed with depth. He died on June 22, 2004 due to complications of Dysautonomic Mitochondrial Myopathy.
As stated above, this conference was not only motivating and inspirational on a professional level, but also on a personal level. I eagerly look forward to bringing this new content into my courses in our Child Life Assistant and Early Childhood and Youth Development programs! Thank you Child Life Council for another great conference! Happy 30th!