Child Life Program

Nemours Children's Hospital, Lake Nona

The Child Life Department at Nemours Children’s Hospital helps children and families cope with medical treatment, diagnosis, and hospitalization through play, preparation, education, and self-expression.

How to Request a Child Life Visit

Access our page on the GetWellNetwork using the interactive television in your room. If you need immediate assistance, just ask your nurse to contact us.

About Child Life

What We Do

Child Life specialists are child development experts who help ensure that life remains as normal as possible for children in health care settings and other challenging environments. We promote effective coping through play, self-expressive activities, and age-appropriate medical preparation and education. Our areas of focus include:

Play & Self-Expressive Activities

A child’s job is to play. We encourage children to play, whether at bedside or in our play and teen spaces within the hospital. We use art, music and creative therapies to promote your child’s development.


Medical Play

Our Child Life specialists use real and pretend medical equipment to give your child a chance to play through medical experiences by sharing feelings, concerns and fears.


Music Therapy

Music therapy is based on science and is safe. At Nemours Children’s Hospital, a board-certified music therapist makes music therapy visits to patients to help meet their individual needs.


Preparation

It’s natural for a child to be anxious about a hospital or clinic visit, but it helps to know what to expect. We help explain procedures and surgery using your child’s five senses and medical materials.


Coping and Distraction

During medical procedures, Child Life specialists offer a variety of tools to re-direct your child’s attention to decrease anxiety and increase cooperation. Techniques may include relaxation, deep breathing and guided imagery. We also help your child — and family — draw on your own coping strengths.


Emotional Support

Our Child Life specialists provide psychosocial support to help your child cope with health care experiences and work through feelings such as fear, anger, sadness or guilt.


Programming

Enjoyment — like a good laugh — is an important part of healing. We organize a variety of activities and events for kids of all ages, including visits from special guests, premier movie showings, and live performances on our center stage.


Bereavement

Child Life specialists offer comfort, support and memorial activities for families when needed.

Our Child Life specialists are trained to understand the different ways children deal with stress, fear, confusion, anger, guilt and sadness. We will develop coping strategies specific to your child’s individual needs, and will also provide parents, siblings and other family members with information, support and guidance when necessary.

Places to Play

Spaces for Children & Teens

Kids of all ages want to explore, play, and laugh, no matter where they are — even in the hospital. Often a child’s choices are limited in the hospital setting, but not at Nemours.

As a hospital built by families, for families, Nemours Children's Hospital is a bright, inviting place where cozy reading nooks are carved into walls, interactive games provide fun and learning experiences, and special spaces and activities — especially designed for kids — enhance creative play and expression.

Hospital Play Spaces

Open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., 7 days a week, our spaces are fun places made for patients and families to escape the stressors of the hospital. These spaces are safe zones where kids can find normal play activities away from medical procedures, equipment and exams.

You can find a play space here:
  • Third Floor Teen Space: for adolescents ages 12 years and older
  • Fourth & Fifth Floor Play Space: for children of all ages, geared toward 12 years and younger

Please note that patients, siblings and visitors under 12 must be accompanied by an adult while they play.

Get Involved

Be Part of Our Child Life Program

Nemours Children’s Hospital welcomes visitors and volunteers from our community to participate in our Child Life activities.


Volunteer Opportunities

Volunteers help the Child Life Program in so many ways.
Find Out How to Become a Hospital Volunteer »


Make a Gift or Donation

We’re thankful for our thoughtful and generous community for providing us with a variety of toys, crafts, and activities for kids of all ages. We truly appreciate donations of new, unused toys and craft supplies, gently used books, and (age-appropriate) video games for popular gaming consoles.

Meet the Team

The Child Life Team

A Child Life specialist is a member of the health care team who is a graduate of a bachelor’s or master’s program in education, human growth and development, psychology, or counseling, and certified through the Association of Child Life professionals (ACLP). We’re equipped to handle a child’s unique way of dealing with a traumatic experience like an illness or injury — and we can help you feel confident doing the same with your child.

Meet the Team

Emily Bradley

Lead Child Life Specialist
Acute Care, Inpatient Rehab
emily.bradley@nemours.org

Shalese Bennett

Child Life Specialist
Acute Care, Hematology/Oncology
shalese.bennett@nemours.org

Kelsey Knipple

Child Life Specialist
Emergency Department, PICU
kelsey.knipple@nemours.org

Jenna Mathis

Child Life Specialist
Surgery, CICU
jenna.mathis@nemours.org

Gloria Mendez

Child Life Specialist
Medical Imaging
gloria.mendez@nemours.org

Alexis Plumb

Child Life Specialist
Emergency Department, PICU
alexis.plumb@nemours.org

Internships

Internship Program

Nemours Children's Hospital offers a comprehensive Child Life internship program open to college students during the fall and spring semesters. We follow the deadline schedule recommended by the Association of Child Life Professionals (ACLP). Please review the attachments below for application requirements and frequently asked questions. If you have additional questions please contact us directly.

Contact Us

Shalese Bennett, CCLS

Internship Coordinator
(407) 567-5368
shalese.bennett@nemours.org

Emily Bradley, CCLS

Internship Co-Coordinator
(407) 567-6413
emily.bradley@nemours.org

Contact Us

Emily Bradley

Lead Child Life Specialist
(407) 567-6413
emily.bradley@nemours.org

Child Life Program

Nemours Children’s Hospital
13535 Nemours Parkway
Orlando, FL 32827


Hours

Monday–Friday: 6:45 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Saturday–Sunday: 9:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.