Creating Positive Experiences for Kids

Play is an important part of every child’s life — it is the way they learn about the world. During times of stress, such as hospitalization or medical treatment, play, music and activity can provide a safe and familiar outlet for a child’s or teen’s emotions. Preparation and support for experiences will also help children and teens understand what to expect, correct any misunderstandings they may have about their experiences, and help them build healthy coping skills to promote long-term resilience.

The Child Life team at Arnold Palmer Hospital is staffed by:

  • Child Life Assistants
  • Child Life Specialists
  • Healing Arts Specialists
  • Music Therapists
  • Therapeutic Recreation Specialists

This team is available to help parents find schooling alternatives for their child to accommodate longer hospital stays. We also work with siblings of a hospitalized child to include them in the play process and educate them about what’s happening to their brother or sister.

Our Programs

Project P.L.A.Y.

Project P.L.A.Y. is a teaching and tour program for children ages 3-11 and parents, to help reduce any fears your child might have about staying in the hospital. We have found that offering just the right amount of careful, honest preparation before admission can help your child cope more positively with these experiences. Led by a Child Life specialist, this program uses dolls and real medical equipment to help you and your child understand and know what to expect before surgery and during your child’s stay. 

To make a reservation, please call 321.841.1203 at least one week in advance of your child’s stay.

PAL Program

The PAL program is specifically designed for teenagers, ages 12-18, to help ease any anxiety before hospitalization. This pre-admission program uses interactive teaching designed to answer the questions that are not asked by teens regarding surgery, anesthesia and recovery. Teens will also be taken on a hospital tour. This program is a great way for us to answer any questions you may have while your child is staying at the hospital.

To make a reservation, please call 321.841.1203 at least one week in advance of your child’s stay.

Want to help?

Donated toys, such as puzzles, games and creative art materials, provide a much needed form of distraction for our patients. Each floor of the hospital has a playroom where children are encouraged to spend time just being kids — even though they’re in the hospital. Our Child Life Team works with each patient to exercise their creativity and stimulate their minds. Generous donations help us provide a great experience for each child and family. View our Toy Wish List.

For Child Life and Music Therapy Students

Student opportunities are offered at Arnold Palmer Medical Center through both a Child Life Practicum experience, as well as both Child Life and Music Therapy Internships. For Child Life, these opportunities occur during Spring, Summer and Fall rotation schedules and include exposure to various units within the hospital according to the curriculum module guidelines and minimum number of hours set forth by The Association of Child Life Professionals (ACLP). Please note: the information below follow the requirements currently in existence. Some of the information listed below will be changing soon so as to align with the new ACLP requirements that go into effect in 2019, such as minimum required hours. Our website content will be adjusted at that time to reflect any updated information needed. For Music Therapy students, the opportunities occur over a six month training schedule as set forth by the American Music Therapy Association.

Child Life Practicum Program

Students applying for a Practicum can be associated with any university but should be prepared to on-board as a hospital volunteer as well as being prepared to attend an orientation session and submit for a background check and drug screen. 

Structure:

The practicum is a structured observation and guided learning experience designed to give students an introduction to the hospital setting as well as the work of a Child Life Specialist.

Prerequisites:

In order to be considered for a practicum, student candidates must meet the following requirements prior to placement:

  • Verification as an undergraduate or graduate student
  • Verification of successful completion, or be in the process of completing a class taught by a Certified Child Life Specialist which addresses the following topics:
    • Child Life documents
    • Family Centered Care
    • Scope of Practice
    • Impact of Illness on Patients and Families
    • Therapeutic Play
    • Preparation
  • Verification of a 3.0 or better grade point average. Students must provide a copy of their transcripts so that appropriate academic preparation can be determined.
  • Verification of 50 hours of experience with well infants, children, youth and/or families.
  • Verification of 50 hours of experience with infants, children, youth and/or families in stressful situations, health care settings and/or programs designed for children with special needs.

Child Life Internship Program

The child life internship program at Arnold Palmer Medical Center is a concentrated, full-time placement where students gain practical, hands-on experience under the direction of a certified child life specialist. It will serve as the vehicle by which a student will build on their coursework and put theory into practice. The primary objective is to afford the student with an experience to gain enhanced knowledge of psychosocial care, demonstrate assessment and intervention skills, increase independence, and be better prepared for an entry-level position.

Structure:

The internship is a structured experience designed to meet the standards set out by the Child Life Certifying Committee and the Association for Child Life Professionals. As such, students must be prepared to adhere to the program outline. The internship session is:

  • 16 weeks in length
  • A minimum of 640 hours
  • Inclusive of day, evening, weekend and holiday shifts

Prerequisites:

In order to be considered for an internship, student candidates must meet the following requirements prior to placement:

  • Verification of status as an undergraduate senior or graduate student
  • Verification of a practicum experience supervised by a Certified Child Life Specialist
  • Verification of successful completion, or be in the process of completing a class taught by a Certified Child Life Specialist which addresses the following topics:
    • Child Life documents
    • Family Centered Care
    • Scope of Practice
    • Impact of Illness on Patients and Families
    • Therapeutic Play
    • Preparation
  • Verification of a 3.0 or better grade point average. Students must provide a copy of their transcripts so that appropriate academic preparation can be determined. (Copies of an ACLP review document are not sufficient to satisfy this criteria)
  • Verification of 100 hours of experience with well infants, children, youth and/or families
  • Verification of 100 hours of experience with infants, children, youth and/or families in stressful situations, health care settings and/or programs designed for children with special needs
  •  Student must be certified in infant, child and adult CPR prior to and during internship.

Students applying for an internship should be enrolled in one of the following schools in order to be eligible for consideration:

  • University of Alabama
  • University of Georgia
  • University of Central Florida
  • University of Iowa
  • University of Florida
  • Florida State University
  • Texas State University 

Along with meeting the above criteria, students should possess certain qualities in working with patients and their families. Student candidates must display a sincere interest and ability in working with patients and families within a medical setting. Students must also demonstrate flexibility, show initiative and enthusiasm, and have the ability to get along well with others. A commitment to the profession of child life and a willingness to learn from every experience and situation is imperative to the success of the student experience.

Music Therapy Internships

For an application, please call 321.841.1479 for more information. Students must be enrolled in a school that is affiliated with Orlando Health.