Child Life Services

Child Life Services

MSK pediatric patient playing

Play is an important part of a young patient’s time at MSK.

Our Child Life Internship Program

The Department of Pediatrics offers a comprehensive environment for interns to learn and grow into child life professionals.

Learn more about the Child Life Internship Program »

At Memorial Sloan Kettering, we recognize that the whole family is affected by a cancer diagnosis. The goal of our Child Life Program is to help young patients and their families develop strategies for coping with and adjusting to treatment.

We target therapies to the age as well as the social and emotional needs of our patients and their siblings to reduce fears, encourage positive approaches to treatment requirements, and normalize the hospital environment. We accomplish this by:

  • Using distraction and guided-imagery techniques to assist children and adolescents during procedures, diagnostic exams, and medical treatments
  • Introducing medical play therapy to prepare young patients for procedures and operations
  • Providing tips for taking oral medicines through our pill-swallowing program
  • Engaging patients in individual and group recreational activities
  • Meeting with siblings to provide support and address concerns
  • Providing opportunities for memory making and legacy building for families during end-of-life care

Our Child Life Specialists

Child life specialists are trained professionals who are experts in human growth and development. We have a variety of backgrounds and interests including education, psychology, fine arts, and art therapy.

We combine our skills and certifications to create a comprehensive program that educates and empowers patients and family members throughout an illness.