Child Life Therapy

What is CLT

Child Life Therapy is a health profession that specialises in creating play to help reduce some of the stress and anxiety that is often experienced as a result of a serious illness. Play is important developmentally for all children irrespective of their illness, needs and abilities. Play can take place in a variety of ways and can be adapted to the individualised needs of each child and their family. This may include creating sensory experiences, appropriate toys and games, music, massage, story time, relaxation, art, craft, scrapbooking and memory making. Child Life Therapy aims to empower children and their families by focusing on play interventions that can create a sense of comfort, joy, identity and wellbeing for the whole family.

Who can participate in a CLT Session

Child Life Therapists work with patients, siblings and families. They can also work alongside other health professionals who are involved in a child’s care e.g. physiotherapists, occupational therapists, Social workers. 

What are the benefits for children and their families who are supported by palliative care?

Child Life Therapy sessions are tailored to an individual child and family’s needs to allow them to experience normal everyday fun activities. Play can be used as a tool to help children cope during stressful procedures, scans or examinations while they are in hospital. These sessions allow the child to strengthen connections and relationships not only with their family but also their health care team. 


Where can CLT be offered (e.g. hospital or home)

Children and families can participate in Child Life Therapy sessions when they are admitted to hospital, when they come in to the hospital for outpatient appointments. It is also possible to offer sessions at home.


Who do I talk to if I want to find out more about CLT for my child and family?

If you would like any further information about Child Life Therapy and how they can support your child and family please speak with a staff member from your palliative care team.