The Child Life and Therapeutic Recreation Therapists work collaboratively to promote the optimum development of infants, children and adolescents and to minimize psychological trauma of hospitalization and illness. They assist families to maintain and promote routine living patterns and they provide classes, activities and therapies designed to help children achieve goals that will support their treatment plan.
As integral members of the health care team, the therapists use a variety of interventions. The Child Life staff provides opportunities to explore and role play with medical equipment and provides procedural support by assisting patients with choosing an alternative focus or planning and rehearsing coping strategies. They also provide opportunities for gaining mastery through play, learning, self-expression, family involvement, and peer interactions.
The Therapeutic Recreation staff uses recreation, leisure experiences and education to address developmental issues in order to link families to community resources and/or support groups and to enhance children's social skills while promoting recreation and leisure skill opportunities.
In addition to the services detailed above, the Child Life and Therapeutic Recreation programs offers community re-entry outings so that children can generalize and practice skills learned while in the hospital. The staff also provides daily goal-oriented group therapies to infants, children and adolescents, and individual treatment sessions to those children unable to attend group therapies or who are in need of more intensive interventions.
Another program that the Child Life and Therapeutic Recreation staff offers is SIBSHOPS. This program is designed specifically for siblings of children with special needs. SIBSHOPS provides a comfortable and fun environment to meet other brothers and sisters of children with special needs. The program allows children to share the positives and negatives of having a sibling with special needs, as well as providing coping strategies and educational tools to the children so they can learn to adapt to common experiences more easily.
Educational services for school-aged children are provided by the Baltimore City School System through the Baltimore City Home and Hospital program. Teachers in this program use Mt. Washington as their home school and there are designated classrooms for the children. The services are for those children who will be at Mt. Washington during the school year for at least 10 school days and are currently enrolled in a public school. Baltimore County Home and Hospital also provides separate school services for patients who reside in Baltimore County.
The Child Life & Therapeutic Recreation internship program at Mt. Washington Pediatric Hospital is a 15-week internship and is offered three times a year. Visit our Internship page to learn more.