At MSK Kids, we understand how overwhelming the diagnosis of a blood or immune disorder in a child can be for your whole family. Our team members are skilled in identifying and addressing the symptoms and possible side effects of treatment, including their social and psychological impact on your child and family.
Other children at MSK Kids have received care for the same disease as your child. You may find it helpful to speak with them or their families because they have had experiences similar to what you are going through now. If you find this might be beneficial for you, ask your care team if they can make a connection for you. We also offer support programs to help children, family members, and caregivers cope with a range of issues that may arise during and after care.
Our Pediatric Support Team
Chronic blood and immune disorders can affect children in many ways. At MSK Kids, our psychological and social care team supports our patients and their family members, complementing the efforts of our treatment teams. This care team may include:
- social workers
- child life specialists
- integrative medicine specialists
We also enlist the support of outside organizations to meet the needs of our families and, whenever possible, connect you with resources in your community that you may find helpful.
Our School Program
At MSK Kids, education through our school program is a high priority. As a participating hospital in a New York City Department of Education program called Hospital Schools, our full-time teachers play an active role in ensuring our young patients are able to keep up with their education. Employed by the New York City Board of Education, our teachers help children and teens undergoing cancer treatment maintain their educational standing and prepare for exams, including New York State Regents exams, SATs, and GEDs.
Child Life Services
Child life specialists are trained professionals who are experts in human growth and development. They have a variety of backgrounds and interests, including education, psychology, fine arts, and art therapy. At MSK Kids, child life specialists combine their skills to educate and empower young patients and family members during their time in the hospital. Their goal is to help your child and your family develop strategies for coping with and adjusting to treatment.
MSK Kids offers recreational programming so that patients can engage in many of the usual activities that young people enjoy. Under the direction of child life specialists, we offer a range of age-appropriate activities daily in the Pediatric Ambulatory Care Center and the Inpatient Unit. These activities are designed to enhance the time our patients, as well as their siblings, spend in the hospital.
Physical and Occupational Therapy
Children recovering from treatment may need rehabilitation therapy. At MSK Kids, our specially trained staff offers outpatient and inpatient physical, occupational, lymphedema, and speech/swallowing therapies, as well as rehabilitation medicine doctor consultations. Our goal is to help children maintain or recover their strength, mobility, and function, as well as their self-care, speech and language, and feeding skills. We support and empower caregivers as a child undergoes rehabilitation. We have a dedicated outpatient pediatric therapy gym, which includes a sensory room and a separate space for children on strict protective precautions. Our pediatric therapists are in close communication with your child’s medical team to ensure that they receive personalized care and progress towards their goals. Your care team will let you know if your child would benefit from these services.
Children and young adults at MSK Kids may benefit from the therapies offered by our Integrative Medicine Service. We offer music therapy, mind/body therapies, dance and movement therapy, yoga, and other services for inpatients and outpatients in groups or at the bedside. These services complement your child’s mainstream medical care by addressing the physical and emotional symptoms of blood disorders and their treatment.