March 2011

Vol. 1, Edition 2

What is a Child Life Specialist?
Child Life
Rachel Ryan, CCLS shows a patient what to expect during his procedure.


Child life specialists help children and their families cope with the fear and anxiety that may come with their healthcare experience. They are skilled in using techniques such as play therapy, self-expression, and pre-procedural teaching to understand and alleviate concerns a child may have about the medical environment.


Child life specialists have a bachelor's or master's degree in child development, psychology or related field. They must complete a clinical internship and pass an exam before becoming a Certified Child Life Specialist (CCLS).


Rachel Ryan, CCLS is the child life specialist for Ayers Children's Medical Center.She provides play therapy, social interaction and distraction during medical procedures. She also coordinates a range of activities for children in the pediatric unit such as movie nights, special visitors, ice cream parties and pet therapy.


March is Child Life Month. For more information about Child Life Services, visit   

Media & Violence in Children


Media access and use is pervasive in our society. Even young children are heavily exposed to television, videos, movies, comic books, music lyrics, and computer games. Their color, excitement, and graphic images have a strong influence on children. On the one hand, such media offer powerful tools for learning and entertainment; on the other hand, violence in the media can be damaging to young children.


Children's exposure to media:

         83% of children under 6 years old use some form of screen media

         On average they spend 2 hours with a television and DVD player, 1 hour with video games, and 50 minutes with a computer

         They watch 4,000 hours of TV before they enter kindergarten

         Exposed to 20 to 25 acts of violence per hour on Saturday morning TV programs intended for children

Extensive research has shown that higher levels of children's exposure to media violence correlate with increased acceptance of aggressive attitudes and increased aggressive behavior. Recent studies associate exposure to violence in the media with violent behaviors.
Parents can limit young children's access to violent media, and teachers can encourage families to take such steps.


(Source: Kaiser Family Foundation: The Media Family and


Race Brings New Pajamas

peds pjs 2011As a child life specialist, Rachel Ryan is always looking for items that will make a child's hospital stay easier. Having small comforts can make a huge difference in a child's anxiety level.


Ryan wanted hospital gowns that were more comfortable for the patients. She also felt having pajama pants was important to help kids maintain their modesty. "Items such as these can have a strong emotional impact, helping children feel more relaxed and at ease," said Ryan. 


Last summer, the inaugural Little General's 5K Run was held to benefit the Playthings for Peds fund at the West Tennessee Healthcare Foundation. The proceeds from the race were used to purchase new pajamas for the unit. "The kids love them," said Ryan. "They are softer and remind kids of the pajamas they wear at home."
The second annual 5K run will be held April 30, 2011 at Union University. All proceeds will benefit the Playthings for Peds funds and will be used to provide comfort items for children (such as games and crafts) during their stay in the pediatric unit.
For more information on the race, visit


"I don't feel good!" 
As a parent, decoding your child's symptoms can be like finding your way through a maze. Does he need to see the doctor or is there something you can do at home?

Need to check your child's symptoms or have questions about a prescription drug? You can learn about many health issues through the health encyclopedia, look up information on medications, take health assessments, and find out more about aches and pains through the Symptom Navigator.

Click here to access all the information-FREE-or visit our Facebook page and click on the ADAM link.
In This Issue
What is a Child Life Specialist?
Media & Violence in Children
New Pajamas
Online Symptom Checker
Kids and Media: The Numbers
Free Developmental Screeing
Kids and Media: the Numbers


Kids 8-18 years old spend more than 7 1/2 hours each day using media (TV, movies, print, music, computer, and video games). 


The majority of children (8-18) have no rules about the type of media content they can use or the amount of time they can spend on a medium.


In 1999, 66% of kids (8-18) owned a cell phone. This was up from 39% just 5 years earlier.


In a typical day, those same kids will spend 33 minutes talking on the phone.


For those who text, they will send an average of 118 messages each day. 


Kaiser Family Foundation

Little General's Big Eat

March 15

click link for participating restaurants


March 19
Therapy & Learning Center
March 25
Fellowship Bible Church
March 26
Therapy & Learning Center
Union University

Free Children's
Developmental Screenings


How do you know if you child is developing the way he should?
The Therapy & Learning Center will offer a FREE Child Find Screening to the community on Saturday, March 19 from 9 a.m. until Noon.
Anyone who is concerned or who wants reassurance that a child is developing appropriately is encouraged to attend. The average complete screening should take around 30 minutes and participants are encouraged to reserve a time slot. Childcare will be provided for siblings of those being screened.

For more information call 731-668-9070 or click here.


Contact Us  

Ayers Children's Medical Center
620 Skyline Drive
Jackson, TN 38301
(731) 541-6448


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