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Child Life Studies Diploma

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  • Objectives
    To examine and review normative stages in the growth and development of infants, children, and youth incorporating communication, play, expression of feelings, discovery and mastery of the environment, self concept, behaviour management, and parent/child relationships. To assess and document situations critical to a child's development and well-being at times of acute and chronic illness, as well as potentially traumatic or life changing events.
  • Practical experience
    Two 8-week block placements take place between late November and early April. Internship placements are located at teaching and general hospitals and community settings in a number of cities.
  • Entry requirements
    Students with an undergraduate degree with at least a "B" average with professional and/or volunteer experience with infants, children, youth and families.
  • Academic Title
    Child Life Studies Diploma
  • Course description
    COMMUNITY ISSUES (Models of Community Service)

    To acquire knowledge about the determinants of health and their contribution to optimal child development.

    To examine how infant, children, youth and family community services support or integrate the determinants into their services.

    To examine culture, religion and ethnicity in meeting the diverse needs of children, youth and families and the provision of culturally sensitive care.

    GROUP STUDIES (Group Studies for Health Professionals)


    To identify basic characteristics of groups and explore how groups develop and function. To develop an understanding of the role of the child life specialist within multidisciplinary health care teams and community service groups. To acquire knowledge and skills in the planning and implementation of groups for children and their families.

    FUNCTION OF PLAY I (normative development)

    To review normal infant, child and adolescent development in order to build a foundation of understanding children with healthcare needs.

    To develop skills of observation, assessment and documentation. To develop clear, 'crisp' and concise communication (both verbal and written).

    To incorporate skills of evidence-based practice into the learning situation.

    FUNCTION OF PLAY II (child life interventions)

    To explore developmental and psychosocial issues related to the care of children and families, including siblings, with healthcare problems.

    To develop documentation skills.

    To acquire the professional skills of the child life specialist role, including the application of a variety of play techniques and clinical interventions to educate and support child and family coping.

    To examine the role of the child life specialist within the healthcare team and the delivery of services to children, families and the community.

    INDEPENDENT STUDY (Independent Study in Child Life)

    To select a topic of interest related to child life practice.

    To research the topic thoroughly.

    To create and deliver a comprehensive professional paper and presentation.

    LEADERSHIP ISSUES (Leadership Issues in Child Life)


    To discuss leadership roles and responsibilities in order to develop generic leadership skills.

    To review and evaluate the provision of quality child life services.

    To examine methods of strengthening the delivery of high quality health care through patient and family centred care systems.

    To discuss standards of practice and ethical decision making in the scope of child life practice.

    THE FAMILY: THEORIES, LIFE AND INTERVENTION (Families and Health Care)


    To develop an understanding of family structure and dynamics using family systems theory, family development theory, and other related theories.

    To gain insight into complex family issues through the application of theory, experiential exercises, and problem-based learning.

    To become familiar with and practise family interviewing skills.

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