Child Life Services for Family & Loved Ones

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Child Life Services

Overview

Child Life Services provided by the Duke Cancer Patient Support Program focuses on the emotional and developmental needs of children and families who are facing a cancer diagnosis.

Child Life Services encourages positive communication and coping in children, teens, and families. The diagnosis of cancer impacts every member of the family, including children and teens. Our certified child life specialists strive to help children and teens better understand and cope with this serious illness in the family. 

Education and supportive activities can reduce the stress experienced by children and teens and make it easier for families to talk about the illness experience.

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In the below video, Child Life Specialist Jean Hartford-Todd, CCLS, shares how to talk with children and teens about cancer, treatments, and side effects to a parents with a cancer diagnosis.

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KidsCan! (a support group) 

KidsCan! supports children ages four to 18 who have a parent or significant caregiver with the diagnosis of cancer. Kids think differently than adults. When families go through the stress of a cancer diagnosis, the children in the family sometimes need extra help understanding and coping with their feelings and emotions.

Each month the group meets virtually and focuses on a different theme. Examples of themes include what is cancer, changes in family life, feelings, and hope and cooperation at home. The participants explore these themes through games, activities, and discussion which are adapted to meet the needs of children and teens of different ages.

KidsCan! provides helpful information and a welcoming community which creates an invaluable support system for families living with the diagnosis of cancer.

Beyond monthly gatherings, KidsCan! connects families with several community based events throughout the year such as sporting events.

Learn more about KidsCan!.

KidsCan! is made possible through the generosity of donors. Make a gift

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A Grateful Family

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Unlock Your Creativity

Coping with changes and challenges can be difficult. Creativity and connection are ways to feel stronger during difficult times.

Try these activities below:

Create a Family Rock Garden

Coping with changes and challenges can be difficult. Creativity and connection are ways to feel stronger during difficult times. Creating a family rock garden is a fun way to recognize your family’s strengths.

Learn how to make one in the video below. Download the handout.

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