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Pediatrics at HSS

The Child Life Program at Hospital for Special Surgery - logo image

The Child Life Program at Hospital for Special Surgery

The Child Life Program seeks to make hospital experiences less stressful and more fun for children and their families at HSS. Child Life staff collaborates with families and the other healthcare team members to:

  • Prepare children for medical procedures and treatment using age- and developmentally-appropriate language
  • Introduce coping strategies the child and family can use throughout their experience
  • Provide opportunities for enjoyment and encourage normal development, despite challenging circumstances
  • Improve child and family experience while at HSS

Preparation & Education

For many children, surgery can be an unfamiliar and potentially frightening experience. Preparing a child before a surgery or procedure can reduce his or her fears as well as manage parents’ own anxieties about the hospital experience. Preparation allows the child and family to know what to expect on the day of surgery and gives an opportunity to rehearse effective coping strategies.

Research has shown that children who are prepared for medical procedures experience less fear and anxiety and have better long term adjustment to medical challenges.

Adaptive Sports Academy at Lerner Children’s Pavilion

The Adaptive Sports Academy organizes local, regional and national adaptive programs for pediatric patients facing a wide range of disabilities. These events help kids and teenagers to realize new skills and interests, encourage mobility and activity and allow patients to socialize with other patients. Past Adaptive Academy programs have included ski trips, surfing events and indoor rock climbing. These experiences encourage independence and can result in increased self-esteem, self-confidence and motivation to live fuller, more active lives.

Special Events & Experiences

Holiday parties provide fun opportunities for children while also letting them interact with staff and the hospital in a fun, non-threatening manner. In addition to ongoing recreation activities for patients and siblings in our outpatient and inpatient areas, we have a schedule of onsite music and entertainment visits to support us in creating an enjoyable and child-friendly environment throughout the Lerner Children’s Pavilion. At times, we also able to facilitate attendance at off-site events for children experiencing a particularly difficult time.

Activities, Games & Resources for Patients and Families

Contact Us

If your child is an HSS patient and you are interested in being placed on our mailing list for parties and special events, please send an email to childlife@hss.edu.

For all questions or inquiries regarding the Child Life Program, please contact Jessica Parise, MS, CCLS at parisej@hss.edu or 212.774.2043.