Pre-surgery Tours Temporarily Suspended

As a part of our ongoing efforts to protect our patients, families, and staff members from the risk of COVID-19, the Child Life team has suspended all pre-surgery tours. Please watch the video above for lots of great information about what to expect on your surgery day.

What is a Child Life Specialist?

Being sick or hospitalized is difficult for children. In addition to the physical discomfort of illness, they may feel frightened, confused and overwhelmed. In essence, kids need more than medicine to get well. At CHKD, we understand that.

Our child life specialists work with patients and families to help children feel more comfortable and more in control of their hospital stay.

Child life specialists help reduce the patients' and families' anxiety and adjust to the hospital experience. Through the use of age-appropriate interventions, they help children understand their illnesses and medical procedures and develop positive coping skills.

Child life assistants encourage play for patients as they learn about their world and how to cope with new experiences. Through play, children can express their feelings and gain a sense of control.

Services We Provide

  • Family support to help adjust to the hospital
  • Medical play to become more familiar with the medical equipment and procedures, and encourage expression of feelings
  • Sibling visits to help brothers and sisters understand why their sibling is in the hospital
  • Coordination of special celebrations such as birthdays and holidays
  • Activities to help bridge the gap between home and the hospital
  • Psychological preparation and pre-operation tours to help patients and siblings understand and cope with healthcare experiences
  • Emotional support and coping techniques, such as guided imagery, deep breathing and diversion
  • Activity room and bedside programming to promote normalization to the hospital experience, peer interaction and independence

Child Life Team Members

Mel Schemer 
Day Surgery/PACU
Email Melissa Schemer
Phone: (757) 668-7178
Lauren Babashanian
Email Lauren
Phone: (757) 668-6912
Traci Maye
Email Traci
Phone: (757) 668-6970
Kristi Logg 
Email Kristi
Phone: (757) 668-6921
Haley Edwards 
Email Haley
Phone: (757) 668-7994
Emily Anne Taylor
Email Emily
Phone: (757) 668-6817

Shannon Hood, Manager
Rehab | Neuroscience
Email Shannon
Phone: (757) 668-9528
Emily Bellino 
Email Emily
Phone: (757) 668-6195
Sherry Brooks 
Office Coordinator
Email Sherry 
Phone: (757) 668-7327
Kristina Finch
Cancer and Blood Disorders Center
Email Kristina
Phone: (757) 668-6810
Elizabeth Bowman 
Emergency Department
Email Elizabeth
Phone: (757) 668-6941
Krystian Hudson 
Email Krystian
Phone: (757) 668-9032
Patricia R Taylor
Child life assistant
Email Patricia
Phone: (757) 668-8129
Amber Dallas
Child life assistant
Email Amber
Phone: (757) 668-8129
Holly Waide
Art Therapist 
Email Holly

Chris Byrd
Music Therapist
Email Chris 

Olivia Vincent
Emergency Department                  
Email Olivia
(757) 668-6892
China Slade
Child Life Assistant
Email China  
(757) 668-8129