“Patients and families bring more than their medical needs when they enter the healthcare system; they carry all their experiences, traumas, worries, beliefs, coping skills, and support systems as well.” (Association of Child Life Professionals. (2021). Emotional safety in pediatrics executive summary).
What Is a Child Life Specialist?
A child life specialist is a trained professional who helps children and their families understand and normalize the hospital environment. They are skilled at providing developmentally appropriate support, preparation, and therapeutic play opportunities to decrease anxiety associated with being in the hospital. For more information visit the Association of Child Life Professionals website.
Lurie Children’s has child life specialists located at our main hospital and also at our outpatient satellite locations who are there to help your child understand their diagnosis or procedure in an age-appropriate way. They also help support siblings, guide families through bereavement and assist in legacy making.
Lurie Children’s Child Life Specialists assess, support and advocate for each child’s physical and emotional needs.
Beth Ryan, Senior Child Life Specialist, works with patients in the hospital’s Lekotek program, a therapeutic, play-based initiative that supports the development of children with special needs.
As members of your child's healthcare team, child life specialists partner with families to tailor interventions to best meet each child’s individual needs. They provide:
Our child life specialists all work in different areas with different units, so their day-to-day tasks can vary greatly. Take a look at their information below to learn which child life specialist might be working with your child.
Beth K. Ryan, M.Ed., CCLS | 312.227.6398 | email@example.com | Eva Marianne Certified Child Life Specialist Available Monday through Wednesday, 7 a.m.–5 p.m.; Thursday, 7 a.m.–3 p.m. — Clark/Deming Outpatient Clinics, Lekotek Leader (Outpatient Center in Lincoln Park)
Brittany Smith, M.A, FLE, CCLS | 312.227.3347 | firstname.lastname@example.org Available Monday through Friday, 10:30 a.m.–7 p.m. — Child Life Practicum Coordinator, 20th Floor Acute Inpatient-Transplant/GI/Nephrology/Urology/PedSurg/Hepatology/Trauma (Main Hospital)
Cecilia Gonzalez, MS, CCLS | 312.227.3942 | email@example.com Anthony Rizzo Family Foundation Certified Child Life Specialist Available Monday-Tuesday and Thursday-Friday, 8 a.m.–6:30 p.m. — Cardiac Intensive Care Unit (Main Hospital)
Elizabeth Moore, BS, CCLS | 312.227.3287 | firstname.lastname@example.org | Anthony Rizzo Family Foundation Certified Child Life Specialist Available Monday through Friday, 8 a.m.–4:30 p.m. — Inpatient Hematology/Oncology/Neuro-oncology (Main Hospital)
Emily Rogers, MS, CCLS | 312.227.2931 | email@example.com Available Monday through Friday, 8 a.m.–4:30 p.m. — Outpatient Center in Skokie (every Monday, Tuesday and the 2nd & 4th Fridays of the month); Outpatient Center in Lincoln Park (every Wednesday, Thursday and the 1st, 3rd and 5th Fridays of the month)
Marlee Speak, MS, CCLS | 312.227.3294 | firstname.lastname@example.org | Anthony Rizzo Family Foundation Certified Child Life Specialist Available Monday through Friday, 7 a.m.–3:30 p.m. — Outpatient Hematology/Oncology/Neuro-oncology (Main Hospital)