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Recreational Therapy and Child Life

Child Life

Child Life is an important part of the rehabilitation experience at RWJBarnabas Health. Our Child Life Specialists are trained professionals who help children and their families understand the hospital environment, aiming to help make the hospitalization experience a positive one.

Through their education and training, our team of Child Life Specialists seek to achieve the following goals:

  • To teach and encourage coping/pain management techniques
  • To enhance understanding of therapies or procedures using age-appropriate preparation and medical/expressive play
  • To provide distraction/support during therapy or medical procedures
  • To provide an opportunity for control and expression
  • To alleviate misconceptions about medical conditions/rehab potential, treatment or environment
  • To provide opportunity for community and school re-entry

For information about child life practicums and internships click here.

Recreational Therapy

Recreational therapists utilize play, recreation, and leisure activities to improve the physical, cognitive and social/emotional abilities of infants, toddlers, children, adolescents and young adults. The primary purpose of their treatment is to identify, improve and/or enhance the functional abilities and independence of the children through leisure and play as well as reduce or eliminate the effects of illness or disability. Recreational Therapist’s also address community integration where patients will be placed in situations that will challenge their skills acquired during their rehab stay and apply them in a practical community-setting in preparation for discharge to home. Our specialized services include animal assisted therapy, aquatic therapy, special events and community-adapted recreation programs.

The recreational therapists at RWJBarnabas Health are prepared at the bachelor's and/or master’s level in Therapeutic Recreation. They are certified by the National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification and are an integral part of the rehabilitation team programs.

For information about recreational therapy practicums and internships click here.

Children's Hospital of New Jersey at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center
201 Lyons Avenue at Osborne Terrace
Newark, NJ 07112
(973) 926-7000
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Children's Specialized Hospital
200 Somerset Street
New Brunswick, NJ 08901
(888) 244-5373
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