Our child life services are designed to minimize the stress that often comes with your child’s hospital stay. We spoke with one of our certified child life specialists, Allison Butler, to learn more about how she helps take the fear and anxiety out of a hospital visit for children – and their families – daily.
What is a child life specialist?
We understand that a hospital can be a scary place for children, so our job is to prepare them for medical procedures, create individualized and developmentally appropriate strategies and incorporate play into the healthcare experience. Our goal is to reduce anxiety and fear that often comes with hospitalization for children and their families.
What made you decide to become a child life specialist?
I’ve wanted to be a child life specialist for as long as I can remember! I’ve always had a passion for helping others and I knew I wanted to work in the medical field. Child life is a perfect combination of the two – with the added bonus of spending my office hours in a playroom!
It is so rewarding to watch our long-term patients grow, witness them overcome so many of their fears and support them as they learn to advocate for themselves. A highlight for me is when I can provide even the tiniest “silver lining” to a patient and their families during hospitalizations
What makes this job special at Tufts Children's?
I wear so many different “hats,” from facilitating special visitors to meet our patients and families, to throwing a “just because” ice cream sundae party on a random Tuesday afternoon. On the opposite end of that, I am supporting our patients and families who are going through the unthinkable. I’m so grateful to be able to have such a supportive department to lean on when the days get tough.
My Tufts Children's co-workers are such caring and compassionate individuals and feel like a second family to me - not a day goes by that I take that for granted.
What do you like to do for fun?
My friend and I have set out to run a half marathon in each of the 50 states. I also spend a handful of time hiking in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. One of my colleagues has convinced me to climb all 48, 4,000 footers with her. 10 peaks down, 38 more to go! Apparently, a third hobby I have is hobbies with large checklists!