Child life and therapeutic recreation specialists work collaboratively to promote the optimum development of infants, children and adolescents. They focus on the psychosocial, developmental and educational needs of children and promote normal childhood growth and development, as well as introducing them to leisure activities, adapted sports and community re-entry.


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.

In order to meet the psychosocial issues of children going through invasive or difficult medical procedures, the staff also provides procedural support services.

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 offer 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.

Abilities Adventures

This is a program that uses outdoor adventures, sports, and leisure to empower, motivate and improve the quality of life for children and teenagers post hospitalization. Goals of Abilities Adventures include:

  • Promote community re-integration and increase community involvement
  • Promote positive and adaptive coping strategies for children and their families as they adjust to living with an injury, illness or chronic medical condition
  • Increase independence
  • Improve quality of life
  • Improve sports-related competence
  • Promote healthy living

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.

To register for any of the upcoming SIBSHOPS, please fill out this form: Registration Form Fall 2019

Child Life and Therapeutic Recreation Internship and Practicum

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. The child life practicum may be offered up to three times per year and provides students with 100-120 hours of experience. Visit our practicum page for additional information.