Thursday, October 4, 2012

A Cure for the Colorless: Syringe Painting

Syringe painting is something that child life specialists are likely familiar with, but I tried to think of some ways to make it a little more interesting and unique.
So this is what I did....

What you will need...

Here are the fun and easy steps...

This activity is so much fun and there are a lot of ways to make it unique. Any color combination will look awesome, and the tape design is totally up to the artist!

I am hoping this activity will bright your day as much as it will your blank canvas!!! 

Sunday, September 9, 2012

A Cure for the Average App (Part 2)

"Better late than never" I always say!
In an earlier post I discussed all the reason I feel iPads have become invaluable resources for Child Life Specialists to use in the hospital setting. I talked about all the ways that they can be used for both fun and intervention!
I also mentioned that I had two categories of apps: 
1. General Hospital/Health
2. Unit Specific
Last time we dove right into some of my very favorite general health apps and I said to "keep your peepers pealed" for my post on a few unit specific apps!  
As promised, I have listed and reviewed my favorite iPad apps for Oncology and Solid Organ Transplant patients. 

I know, I know...
the two seem completely unrelated, and you're right!
To most they are unrelated, but not for me!
These two units happen to be the two that I spent my internship in and are also just two of my favorites!
However, there are a few other things that these two units have in common.
For one, both of the units have "frequent fliers", meaning the patients seen in these units will be patients you will see over and over...and will likely get to know very well.
Also, both units encounter various diseases. Each disease will be treated in a number of different ways and  will be complex and likely severe in nature.
Another thing they have in common is that the patients in these units will vary in age and will likely have a hard time understanding the nature of their disease. As much as it may be explained to them, there is still a chance they cant fully grasp whats happening inside their bodies. 
Therefore, it's important that we get to know our patients well enough to know what needs they need met and then find the best way to approach it for that individual.
In a lot of cases visual reference is very helpful, especially with children!
Which is where the iPad apps come in! 

Here is my list of favorites:

Oncology Apps

"Cancer Zapper"

"The Curables"

"Cancer Wars"

Transplant Apps
Note: Because two of the most common pediatric organ transplants are kidney and liver those are the only apps I have listed.
"Kidney Warrior"

"Kidney Bounce"

"My Liver"

I hope these apps are beneficial to you and your patients!
A really great app for patients with asthma as well as
general health/hospital apps!!!!

See ya then friends!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Get to Know Me!

I do appologize for the delay...
But I have finally updated the "Get to Know Me" page so that hopefully you can begin to understand the reasons I love doing what I do! 

Here's a little preview...

...If that doesn't create a little curiosity then I dont know what will! :)
Hope you enjoy!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

A Cure for the Average App

So I know I may sound crazy but... 
I believe iPads were created just for Child Life Specialists!
I know, I know there are several other (less productive... yet equally exciting) reasons to have an iPad, but to be honest, seeing a child engage in this particular form of entertainment is all the reason I need! 

While working in the hospital I have taken some notes on what things kids love most about iPads...
The obvious is that it's simply a new and thrilling toy that, in most cases, belongs to Mommy or Daddy (which clearly makes it more intriguing) (;
The other great thing about iPads is that there is usually something on it or that can be downloaded on it to fit the interests of everyone.
And now, more and more Child Life Programs are starting to incorporate iPads into their intervention techniques. 
But in my opinion, for a CLS to get the best results out of the way they use an iPad they need to look at it as more than just a toy or distraction item. It needs to be looked at as a powerful teaching tool. Fortunately, iPads make it easier to do that. By finding games that are both engaging and educational, you are able to (discretely) promote cognitive development and understanding for medical situations. 

So needless to say, I have done some research as to what's out there in the iTunes World of child-friendly games to promote understanding for and familiarity towards the hospital, medical situations and overall health!

Here are some of my favorites!

The apps I will share will be one of two things. Either they will be apps that are specifically geared towards a particular diagnosis or they will be fun and educational apps that could work in any medical setting!

The ones I am sharing today are the most general. Starting with my favorite....

"This Is My Body-Anatomy for Kids"

Here is another app that children seem to really love and easily figure out...
"Toca Doctor"

"Dr. Panda's Hospital"

"KidSkool: Doctors"

This app is not the greatest because there isn't much to do. However, younger patients seem to really enjoy it for that very reason. 
"Little Doctor"

"iSpy: Doctor's Office"

"Human Defense"

That's all for the non-specific medical app's, and they will be posted on my "Wise Guides" page for later reference!

As for the other apps...
Keep you peepers pealed!
 Because next week I will have some helpful tips and FYI's about the best app's to use for Oncology and Transplant patients!

Friday, August 24, 2012

A Cure for the Boring Band-Aid

I did a little, unofficial, survey not too long ago to see what stuck out in a children's memories when they were asked about getting a shot. And much like I had assumed the #1 thing they remembered was, not how much it hurt, but what kind of band-aid they received afterwards. 
I would ask, "Have you ever had a shot before?" 
And the responses I would get resembled ones like the one a got from a 4 year old little boy who said, "Yeah, and I got a Scooby-Doo band-aid!" 
Not, "Yeah, and it hurt really bad!" or "It was the worst thing in the whole-wide-world!"

So this got me thinking...
Since distraction is one of the number one things child life specialists provide during procedural situations, the "special" band-aids could help in a variety of ways.
By making a book filled with various band-aid designs a child life specialist would not only be able to use it as a distraction for their eyes during their procedure, but it would also give the child something to look forward to when it was all over. It will also give them an opportunity to make a decision, which is another really important thing for children to be able to do in situations where they feel they have no control. This gives them the ability to exercise their sense of mastery as well as their self-expression. 

The Band-Aid Book can be created using whatever you can find, but this is what I used for mine!

To make it even more unique, come up with your own title and catchy tag line! 
Mine is a little cheesy :) 

The craft is super easy to do and will be such a handy distraction item to carry around from unit to unit! 

Monday, August 20, 2012

A Cure for the Hospital Birthday Blues!

In honor of my birthday week being last week, I thought it would be fun to do a birthday themed post!
On an "All About Me" activity I did in 1st grade I made the mistake of putting "my birthday!!!" in the blank where it asked "What's Your Favorite Holiday?" Needless to say, and to my dismay, I was quickly informed by my bubble busting teacher that my birthday was not to be considered a holiday...Well too bad lady!! Birthday's should always be treated like a holiday! The more memorable and special the birthday celebration, the better the outlook is for the year to come!

But that's just my opinion :)

24 years in and I can say one thing about birthdays...they were much more exciting and anticipated in my younger years!

All that being said, I wanted to take some time to think about those little ones having to celebrate their birthday's from the confines of a hospital room. Things such as balloons, birthday cake and presents are what make birthday celebrations so special...yet those are also some of the things Child Life Specialists are unable to give to their patients. So is it even possible to make their birthday something joyful, unique and unforgettable? 
And in my opinion it's imperative to do so! This day could either be the "worst birthday ever", or the most fun and memorable! All it takes is a little extra thought, creativity, and lots of paper! Here are just a few ideas I thought could be useful for creating a hospital birthday celebration!

Hospital Birthday Decorations

A Couple of Fun and Easy Birthday Crafts

It is also always a great idea to get together with the patients family and find out what they might want to do for their little one's celebration. This would be a great time to help answer any questions and concerns they may have about other family members and friends coming in to visit. It would also be great to see if they had any other special requests, such as a room with more space, special guests and/or entertainment options!
I hope these simple ideas can help you make their birthdays as special as they are! 

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Test Tube Sparkle Wands

Here's what you need....
(Medical Supplies) Syringes, Medicine Cups, and Test Tubes 
(Craft Supplies) Glitter, Microbeads, Small Glass Beads, Sequins, Ect. 
(Home Supplies) Baby Oil and a Funnel

Such an easy and exciting way to desensitize children towards medical supplies and also helps add a little sparkle to your day (can't deny the joy you get from a little glitter)! Now....GO HAVE FUN!!