A visit to the hospital can be stressful for kids and parents alike, but Child Life Specialists help make it as comfortable as possible. These trained professionals are experts in child development and they help distract kids from the pain and anxiety of a hospital stay. In 2017, more than 13,000 kids received Child Life Services such as art, music and yoga therapy at the Children’s Hospital of Michigan.
To the unfamiliar, creative therapies such as art and music therapy appear to be just arts and crafts, or simply child’s play. Yet creative therapies are valid treatments, proven to promote and improve the healing process. Your donation would enable us to fund treatment solutions like these to truly make a difference in the life of a child.
When working with a child, art therapist Victoria Goldsmith initially establishes rapport, then emphasizes that the outcome of the art is not really what’s important. Approached as a process, not as an end result, art can help children release energy and become a means of self-expression that doesn’t require words.
“One of my favorite interventions is a scribble drawing,” she says. “We use pen or pencil and paper, and the patient can select a time frame. A 20-second scribble helps get out that pent-up physical energy. After that, I present a challenge—what can we find in the scribbles?”
The following is an example of how music therapy played an important role in the care of a young child:
Michaela Rabin was just 2 years old when she was diagnosed with brain cancer. Suddenly, her world became a frightening place full of painful medical procedures. Over the course of a year, Michaela spent 100 days in the hospital and while her body was healing, she was becoming anxious and fearful.
“Suddenly, everything scared her,” says Michaela’s mother, Amy Rabin. “She became apprehensive of everything and cried when people just walked through the door.”
Among the many therapies that Michaela received, the most soothing came from music therapist Blythe Filar. By playing music, Filar helped Michaela reduce her stress level and better tolerate her environment. “Eventually, Blythe could walk into the room and Michaela was not afraid of her,” Rabin says. “Music therapy was a lifesaver, a truly wonderful thing. It returned something that was taken away from Michaela.”
Today, Michaela is a thriving 6-year-old kindergartener.
Kids in the hospital need all the help we can give them, and creative therapy is an important tool. Children’s Hospital of Michigan Foundation is committed to improving the health and well-being of all kids in Michigan and we need your help to continue to serve the thousands of other children like Michaela.
With your continued support, we can make sure that more children and families receive Child Life Services like art and music therapy when they need them the most.