Child Life with child with bubbles

Child Life Specialists at University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital focus on meeting the emotional and developmental needs of children who are in a health care setting.

For a child, the excessive anxiety and stress related to illness, separation from family during hospitalization, and medical encounters can be emotionally damaging and interfere with the child's response to medical treatment and care. Major interruptions in a child's life can invite dependency and erode self-esteem and may jeopardize the child's growth and development.

Through the use of play and other forms of communication, a Child Life Specialist helps reduce the stress and enable children and families to cope with these experiences.

Patient Stories

  • Masks of courage

    Macaulay Townsend with his mask Macaulay Townsend came up with “courage masks” to minimize the stress and emotional strain of children throughout their hospital experience.Read more
  • I spy with my little eye

    I spy with my little eye photo of child watching construction The construction crew and Child Life team had a special surprise for patients and visitors at UI Stead Family Children's Hospital this holiday season.Read more
  • Snow ball

    Child attending the Frozen Event On Jan. 31, our Child Life staff threw a Snow Ball for our pediatric inpatients and their families. Kids had the chance to participate in a variety of activities, dance, and visit with some very special "Frozen" characters.Read more
  • Looking back, moving forward

    Myat Haggart Family from New York For years, Myat Haggart’s parents have been searching for answers. Myat, a 10-year-old living in New York City, has been blind since age 5. He also wears bilateral hearing aids to help with hearing loss and has other health issues. Read more
  • Delivering a special kind of care

    Jordyn Gourle A Day in the Life of a Child Life Specialist It may often look like fun and games, but with every activity Child Life Specialists are focusing on building trust and meeting the emotional and developmental needs of the pediatric patients and their families. Read more

News Articles

Locations and Contact

  • UI Stead Family Children's Hospital
    22130-C SFCH
    200 Hawkins Drive
    Iowa City, Iowa 52242
    • Phone: 319-356-4469