*Please be advised that students completing the Child Life Specialist concentration cannot be placed in internship sites within the states of North Carolina and New York due to state licensure regulations.
2019 Association of Child Life Professionals (ACLP)
Exam Eligibility Requirements
|Min # of classes required by the ACLP for Child Life Professional Certification Exam eligibility
||NSU Child Life Specialist Courses
HSDD 5510 Foundations in Child Life and Family Centered Care
HSDD 5522 Theories of Child Growth and Development
HSDD 5523 Theories of Adolescent Growth and Development
||HSDD 5518 Family Systems and the Hospitalized Child
||Therapeutic Benefits of Play
HSDD 5532 Therapeutic Benefits of Play
||Loss/Bereavement or Death/Dying
HSDD 5534 Death and Dying
HSDD 5100 Program Design and Evaluation
||Additional courses in child life or related content area
HSDD 5515 Ethics in Child Life
HSDD 5530 Interventions in Child Life
HSDD 5525 Medical Terminology for the Child Life Professionals
Students may elect to complete experiential training hours through NSU. Students must successfully complete 600 hours of child life clinical internship under the direct supervision of an approved, Certified Child Life Specialist.
HSDD 5510 - Foundations of Child Life and Family-Centered Care (3 credits)
This course will provide an introduction to the spectrum of child life practice in direct and non-direct services in pediatric health care including a historical review of the profession and its development in the evolution of children's healthcare. Students will develop an understanding and affirmation of the values of supporting individual development, family-centered care, therapeutic relationship and developmentally appropriate communication. Additionally, students will learn to represent and communicate child life practice and psychosocial issues of infants, children, youth and families. This course will provide students with the knowledge and effective strategies to assess and support healthy interactions between families and outside institutions. Continuous engagement in self-reflective professional child life practice will also be a focus of this course.
HSDD 5515 - Ethics in Child Life (3 credits)
This course will provide students with the insight necessary to identify and manage ethical and professional issues within a multidisciplinary approach in clinical and research settings. Students will learn the ethical and legal issues surrounding healthcare, including transition of pediatric patients to adult healthcare; medical treatment; and medical technology, including: advance directives and living wills, resource allocation, transplantation issues, withholding and termination of treatment, and death and dying. Both the ethical and legal perspectives regarding how to support patients and their family members when making challenging medical choices will be explored. The official documents of the Association of Child Life Professionals (ACLP) including the Code of Ethical Responsibility, Child Life Competencies and Standards of Clinical Practice, the Child Life Mission, Values and Vision Statements, and the Code of Professional Practice and their role in ethics will also be addressed. Students will also develop the ability to evaluate child life services and make recommendations for program improvement. As part of this course, teaching and supervision of students and volunteers will be addressed.
HSDD 5518 - Family Systems and the Hospitalized Child (3 credits)
This course will provide students with in-depth training regarding family systems and their importance when working with children and families in healthcare settings. Focus will be placed on the family as a social system. We will discuss family relationships; the historical and contemporary theories related to family structure and functions; adaptations in family structure and interaction patterns; diverse family systems; parenting, caregiving and family life from a cross-cultural perspective; adult-child interactions; and exploration of current research and theory as it applies to family systems.
HSDD 5520 - Child and Adolescent Growth and Development (3 credits)
This course will examine issues in human development that are especially relevant to infants, children and adolescents. It is designed to present theory, research and evidence-based practice concerning the physical, cognitive, emotional, and social development of children. Typical versus atypical developmental progress, as well as factors that threaten to impede typical development will be addressed. This course will also emphasize cultural competence when working with children and families in a collaborative context.
HSDD 5522 - Theories of Child Growth and Development (3 credits)
This course will examine theories of human development that are especially relevant to infants and children in early and middle childhood. Students will learn psychoanalytic, social learning, behaviorist, ecological, humanistic and psychosexual theories and will apply these theoretical perspectives to child growth and development. This course is also designed to present research and evidence-based practice concerning the physical, cognitive, emotional and social development of children.
HSDD 5523 - Theories of Adolescent Growth and Development (3 credits)
Adolescent Development reviews the physical and sexual, cognitive, emotional, moral and social growth and development of young people as they transition between the immaturity of childhood and the maturity of adulthood. We will view adolescence from a scientific (rather than intuitive) research perspective within the context of the adolescents’ lives. This requires a multi-disciplinary approach with input from the sciences of psychology, biology, sociology, anthropology and the disciplines of education and history. A critical examination of theories, methods of research, and findings from current research on human growth and development will assist in this review.
HSDD 5525 - Medical Terminology for the Child Life Professional (3 credits)
Students participating in this course will receive an introduction to medical terminology, designed to increase familiarity with medical terms while reviewing basic anatomy and physiology; an introduction to medical procedures and diagnoses; and will discuss ways to explain common tests, procedures, and diagnoses to children of different developmental levels and children with developmental differences.
HSDD 5530 - Interventions in Child Life (3 credits)
This course will introduce students to theories and intervention techniques that help children and families cope with stress from hospitalization or other life events that disrupt normal development. Strategies to assist with issues such as pain management; adjustment to chronic illness and long-term hospitalization; and adherence to medication management and routine medical care will be covered. Students will learn to assess and implement developmentally appropriate interventions, based on empirical data, to create individualized treatment plans in collaboration with the treatment team. The central role of play therapy in child life services will be emphasized, along with the provision of a safe, therapeutic and healing environment.
HSDD 5532 - Therapeutic Benefits of Play (3 credits)
This course will provide students with training necessary to identify and understand the therapeutic benefits of various types of play. We will discuss the classical and contemporary theories of play, assessment of children’s understanding using play, play principles and values, the role of play in the development of children, the structure of therapeutic play sessions, promoting creativity in play, providing guidance of play in a therapeutic context, the function of play in curriculum and program development, and the therapeutic benefits of play for the hospitalized child.
HSDD 5534 - Death and Dying (3 credits)
This course provides students with training regarding theories related to death and dying, developmental understandings of death and dying, and provision of interventions when working with the child and family experiencing death and dying. We will examine the cultural context of death and the effect of death upon surviving family members. This course will also cover historical and ethical viewpoints, along with exploration of one’s own reactions to death, dying and bereavement.
HSDD 5535 - Child Life Practicum (3 credits)
Students are required to complete a specified number of hours of child life clinical experience at a selected agency working under the supervision of a Certified Child Life Specialist who meets specific qualifications at an approved setting. Students will need to complete a minimum of 100 hours in 14 weeks, completing 8 hours a week. During that time, the student is expected to increase his or her competence in the areas of observation, child life assessments, developmental theory integration, therapeutic play interventions, and rapport building.
It is mandatory that students enrolled in this course will meet in “live” sessions via GoToTraining/GoToMeeting on a biweekly basis, for two hours, on a day and time to be determined by both the instructor and the students enrolled in this course. Prerequisite(s): HSDD 5510, HSDD 5515.
HSDD 5550 - Child Life Internship I (3 credits)
Students will be required to successfully complete a specified number hours of child life clinical experience under the direct supervision of a Certified Child Life Specialist who meets specific qualifications at an approved setting. During that time, the students will be expected to increase their competence in the areas of basic interviewing, assessment, and intervention skills. Furthermore, integration of ethical, legal, and professional issues inherent in child life service delivery will be addressed. Best practice and conflict resolution issues will also be incorporated. Prerequisite(s): HSDD 5510, HSDD 5515, HSDD 5532.
HSDD 5560 - Child Life Internship II (3 credits)
Students will be required to successfully complete a specified number hours of child life clinical experience under the direct supervision of a Certified Child Life Specialist who meets specific qualifications at an approved setting. During that time, the students will be expected to increase their competence in the areas of basic interviewing, assessment, and intervention skills. Furthermore, integration of ethical, legal, and professional issues inherent in child life service delivery will be addressed. Best practice and conflict resolution issues will also be incorporated. Prerequisite(s): HSDD 5510, HSDD 5530, HSDD 5550.
Child Life Specialist Internship Information
Students may elect to complete their internship at an NSU approved child life specialist site. During their training, students are expected to complete a minimum of 600 clinical training hours under the supervision of a Certified Child Life Specialist. NSU's clinical training representative is available to assist students in securing internship opportunities.
The child life concentration offered in the M.S. in Developmental Disabilities program is designed to prepare students for certification as a child life specialist. For detailed information regarding certification requirements and application, please visit the Child Life Council.