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Child Life Department

Learn how our child life specialists help children and their families during their stay at our hospital.

Child life at Methodist Children's Hospital

While your child is being cared for at Methodist Children's Hospital, you may request the services of a child life specialist to help them with the support they need. Our child life specialists help children in the hospital with any anxieties or stresses they are having and help families throughout their stay with us.

Child life specialists are trained professionals with a bachelor's or master's degree in child development or a related field. Our specialists focus on the psychosocial needs of your child by collaborating and developing supportive relationships with their parents and other healthcare professionals to increase familiarity with our hospital environment.

At Child Life, our mission statement is: "As child life specialists, we strive to minimize the stress and anxiety of our pediatric patients and their families. As a team, we are dedicated to providing children and families with support in order to promote and foster family-centered care."

Facility dog program

WAGS over Texas was established in 2017 as the first and only facility dog program in South Texas. Facility dogs are highly trained canines that work as members of the healthcare team to support our pediatric patients and their families. Hazel's job at Methodist Children's Hospital is to support children in the healthcare setting by:

  • Providing distraction during painful procedure
  • Supporting patients during new diagnosis education
  • Encouraging post-surgical ambulation
  • Helping patients explore new coping skills in the healthcare setting

Follow along with our working dogs on Instagram @WAGSovertexas.


  1. What training do they have?
    Hazel was born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia at Canine Assistants. From the age of 8 weeks old, she learned how to interact with new experiences and unfamiliar people. She is a certified service dog who has had additional training to become a facility dog. Hazel is trained using a bond based approach to best create a connection between facility dog and handler.
  2. Who takes care of them?
    Our pup lives full time with her primary handler. Outside of working hours, she enjoys swimming, going on hikes, and just being a normal dog.
  3. What patients get to see the pups?
    Our team of Certified Child Life Specialist consult our facility dogs for patients who would benefit from support. Due to infection control practices and patient volume not every patient is able to see our furry friends. Please reach out to the child life team if you have questions!

As a specialized branch of the Child Life Department, our Patient Technology Specialist (PTS) provides therapeutic interventions using technology and gaming in order to minimize stress and provide patients with a sense of normalcy. Additionally, the PTS provides technical assistance and expertise for staff, develops new technology-related opportunities for patients, and orchestrates bedside therapeutic interventions. This unique program was the first of its kind in Texas and remains the only designated therapeutic gaming program in San Antonio.

Music therapy

Music Therapy is the clinical use of music interventions to accomplish individualized goals within a therapeutic relationship. Music Therapy is done by a credentialed professional who has a bachelor's or higher in music therapy and obtained MT-BC (music therapist, board certified) credentials from the certification board for music therapists (CBMT).

Music therapy sessions here at Methodist Children's Hospital are used to support patients and family members in achieving a wide variety of goals and objectives including:

  • Reducing anxiety/fear/stress
  • Expressing emotions
  • Increasing the use of coping/relaxation skills
  • Decreasing perception of pain levels
  • Building legacies/memories
  • Supporting appropriate developmental milestones

Music Therapy has proven to be a valuable and effective tool in helping children and families cope with hospitalization. The Music Therapy program currently serves all medical, surgical, oncology, and intensive care inpatient units. Referrals can be made by any staff member on the team (nurses, physicians, Child Life specialists and more) and can be requested by patients or families themselves.

Contact Us

To request the services of a child life specialist, please ask your child's nurse for a referral or contact Child Life directly. You may also request a Child Life pre-admission or pre-operative tour for patients and their families to help all parties involved become more comfortable with the care they are about to receive. To schedule a tour, please call Child Life.

Call Child Life 

About child life specialists

Child Life Specialists are highly educated, trained professionals with a bachelor's or master's degree in child development or related field. Child Life Specialists focus on the psychosocial needs of children by collaborating and developing supportive relationships with parents and other health care professionals to increase familiarity with the hospital environment. Child Life Specialists are able to facilitate coping strategies and decrease anxiety through: play, procedure preparation and support, education, self-expression activities and school services.

  • Play: It is a child's job to play. Play normalizes the hospital environment and encourages children to express their feelings, concerns and understanding of hospitalization.
  • Procedure Preparation and Support: Child Life Specialists prepare patients for what to expect during their hospitalization and use distraction and non-pharmacological pain management techniques during the procedure.
  • Education: Child Life Specialists help patients and families gain a better understanding of a new diagnosis through interactive teaching.
  • School Services: Bridging the gap between home and hospital life, Child Life Specialists are available to set up hospital bound and homebound schooling for those who qualify.
  • Pet Therapy
  • Music Therapy
  • Art Therapy

Schedule a tour

Due to visitor restrictions, our department is currently unable to provide in-person pre-surgical tours. We have created "virtual tours" based on your child's developmental level to help all parties involved become more comfortable with the care they are about to receive. For any additional questions or needs, please call the child life department at (210) 575-7399.

Schedule a tour

Showing 3 Videos

Virtual Tour: Pre-Op for Pre-School Age Children

Parents, we invite you and your preschool-age child to watch this video. We designed this tour to help your child understand where to go and what to expect on the day of his or her procedure.

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