Genius idea from a genius girl!

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11-year-old Kylie Simonds is in the works to create a backpack that could replace IV poles for children in the hospital. This IV backpack would help take away the stigma of seeing “the dreaded IV pole” and help kids be kids a little more while in the hospital. This is such an amazing idea, you go, Kylie!

Kylie Simonds’ original backpack features Hello Kitty but, once they are manufactured, they can be made in other designs.


To check out her Go Fund Me page, click: http://www.gofundme.com/bz01ds

To learn more about her story, click: Source: http://www.couragebykylie.com/

Favorite find of the month

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A common problem as a child life specialist is having your toys “walk away”. Being that I’m still fairly new, I haven’t found a grand source for toy donations so the toys that I do have to lend out to patients, I take extremely good care of.
One of my more popular toys is my “little people playsets” – you know, a plastic castle, home, or scene that comes with little characters to play in. Since the playsets themselves are fairly large and have “pediatrics” “please return to child life” “Peds ER” written in sharpie all over them, they rarely* walk away. The “little people” however disappear before they even come out of the box! I’ve been wanting to find a good solution to this that didn’t include spending millions on a lifetime supply of “little people” nor stopping use of the playsets all together.
Earlier this week I made a trip to Target where I found these cute Mystical Ponies! Each pack contains 20 and costs $1 (LOVE TARGET’S DOLLAR SECTION!) For boys, I have dinosaurs/ toy soldiers (not pictured) which also came in packs of 20 for $1. I stocked up on these little figurines & now if they’re taken, I have backup!

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Casting shadow buddies!

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In the emergency room we see many closed bone reductions (darn monkey bars!) so with the kids that are especially anxious about getting a cast, I like to create a shadow buddy and put a cast on their new little friend. This fun activity helps them get creative in decorating their doll (great key to see how they’re feeling based on what they draw) and allows them to gain mastery on cast placement. Also, when they go home they have a little pal that has a cast just like theirs.

With all of this talk about casting, one of our lovely ortho techs made me my own cast to be able to show kids what it’s “really” going to look like.

Currently I only have 4 shadow dolls that I received from someone else’s donation. You can’t really buy shadow dolls (at a reasonable price) so if any of my readers have tips on how I can get shadow dolls, please let me know!

& my adventure continues…

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      Today is the first day of school for many down here in Miami, so I figured today is a good day to announce to my followers that I’ve been accepted into grad school at Nova Southeastern University! The degree will be in Developmental Disabilities with a concentration in Child Life. This will be the first time that I’m working full time and going to school but luckily, the masters program is 100% online! I am so lucky to have been accepted into such an amazing program – I can’t wait to start!

If you’re interested in more information about the Developmental Disabilities masters program at Nova, click here: http://www.nova.edu/humanservices/devdisabilities/index.html 

Budget friendly beading

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IMG_1094.JPG For a while my beaded bracelet kits have been a huge hit in the ER, however at $9 for a dozen, it can get pretty pricey. Luckily, I decided to make my own beading kits! All I needed was a roll of string, beads, and plastic baggies (which I had from the hospital). They’re as popular as the previous beading kits and I’m saving a ton of money with now only purchasing beads and string rather than the kit itself. This is definitely a “win” in my book!

How I studied for the certification exam

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When I finally signed up to take my certification exam, I quickly became overwhelmed with what/how I had to study. The Child Life Council has a list of suggested materials for you to review before the test – ( http://childlife.org/files/CandidateManual.pdf — page 15) – but it can definitely be overwhelming to be given a list of text books as suggested study material . Here is what/how I studied for the certification exam (and yes, I passed on my first try!)

I began studying exactly one month before the date of my exam. I’ve never studied for one thing for so long with such a broad study guide so I knew I was in for an adventure.

Speaking of adventures, here’s a little time line of my child life adventure – so you know where my studying starting point is: I graduated from college in spring 2012, took my intro to child life class in fall 2012, did my practicum in spring 2013, finished my internship in fall 2013, began working in January 2014, and was now taking the certification exam in March 2014. I’ve been consistently engaged with Child Life for 2 years – that being said, my studying was based on all that I’ve experienced and learned during my consistent Child Life adventure so I felt confident skipping over some material & focusing more on others.

So, first thing’s first: textbooks.

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I’m a very thorough note taker so having studied two of these books for my intro to child life course and the other two during my internship, I already had a ton of material to go over. I went through all of my notes of each chapter of each book and rewrote things I felt would come up on the test.

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The readings for ethics and the one for volunteers I had (luckily) made photo copies of from a friend and I’m so happy that I did! There were absolutely questions relating to these two topics on the exam. If you don’t have a copy of these materials already, get them! It may seem like a subject that’s common sense but reading through these two materials helped me a lot with various questions on the test.

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Another tool that helped me a lot were these two little gems from the Child Life Council. The study guide has great test taking tips and practice exams with answers! And, “the official documents of the Child Life Council” is a good resource to have whether you’re taking the test or not because it is filled with important information about our profession.

As for things I did not do:
– use the “child life certification exam” flash cards. I am HUGE on using flash cards to study but there was just so much information on each of the cards and a lot of lists “8 reasons ___” “5 ways that children ___” “10 most common ___”. I think I got through about 10 before I pushed them aside. They just didn’t “go” with my studying style.
– review a child development text book or a nursing text book. I felt confident enough with these two subjects based on all of my experiences leading up to this exam to be able to skip over them.
– try to rush or obsess over a question. While taking the test, if a question was unclear or if I was having trouble picking an answer, I left it blank and went back to it at the end of the test (you have FOUR hours!) This was a great tip because with the practice exams I noticed I would get ahead of myself and try and answer the questions as quickly as possible making me misread what the actual question was asking. Pay attention to what the question is asking and don’t be fooled by additional information given to try and trick you! and always always always go back and reread your answers after you’ve completed your exam. always.
– study the day before the exam. By this point I had studied for a MONTH. If I didn’t know something by this point I wasn’t going to learn it the day before the exam. My brain needed a much needed relaxing day off before the big show.
– freak out the day of. Sure, it was nerve wrecking, but as soon as I say down at the computer I said to myself “I’ve been studying every day for a month and I’ve been living this for two years. It’s time to answer some questions about this topic that I love so much.”

…And just like that, a (scary) two months later, I found out I had passed! (March 2014 exams took way longer to reveal test scores for some reason – lucky me. I’ve been told that you normally find out whether you’ve passed or failed immediately after you submit your test.)

Best of luck to all of you child life-ers out there studying!!