Child Life and Creative Arts Therapy

While in the Newborn/Infant Intensive Care Unit (N/IICU) your family may receive support from a certified child life specialist, music therapist or art therapist.

What do child life specialists, music therapists and art therapists do in the N/IICU?

A certified child life specialist in the N/IICU is specially trained in child development and assisting patients and families in coping with hospitalization.

All child life staff specialize in working with hospitalized children. They understand the unique stress that a hospital stay and/or medical illness can cause. By using education, preparation and supportive activities, they strive to minimize that stress and help children and their families cope positively with their healthcare experience.

A music therapist may sing or play the guitar at crib side to offer positive stimulation, support bonding with your baby and support your baby’s development.

An art therapist works primarily with you and members of your family to find creative ways to express yourselves and bond with your baby. There may also be the opportunity to work with your baby’s siblings, if they are having a difficult time coping with various issues.

How can a child life specialist, music therapist or art therapist help me to support my baby?

Certified child life specialists provide support for the whole family:



Your Baby

Away from the bedside, the child life specialist holds special events for N/IICU families.

Please ask your RN, social worker or physician for a child life referral. The child life specialist will work with your other child(ren) to provide an outlet for their emotions, help encourage healthy coping and increase their sense of control.

Music therapists may:

For parents and caregivers, there is a monthly Music Relaxation Group on the unit, which includes muscle relaxation and listening to music away from the bedside.

Art therapists may:

For parents/caregivers, an art therapy group is offered monthly to:

Qualifications of child life and creative arts therapists

A child life specialist, music therapist and art therapist are all part of the Child Life, Education and Creative Arts Therapy Department. Each staff member has a degree in child life, child development, psychology, music therapy, art therapy or a related field and each has passed a national exam to obtain their professional credentials.

The Child Life, Education and Creative Arts Therapy Department is happy to answer any questions you have about its services and resources for parents.

Contact us

As a partner on your child’s healthcare team, feel free to contact these individuals if you have additional questions or concerns.

Certified Child Life Specialists, N/IICU
Board-Certified Music Therapist
Registered, Board-Certified Art Therapist

Updated September 2012

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