Date of Award

Spring 4-23-2018

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Education (MSEd)

First Advisor

Debra Vilas


According to The National Child Traumatic Stress Network [NCTSN] (2003), “trauma occurs when a child experiences an intense event that threatens or causes harm to his or her emotional and physical well-being”. Roughly one in four children will experience a traumatic event before the age of sixteen. Due to the prevalence of traumatic events, it is necessary for healthcare professionals to know and understand the implications these experiences may have for children and their families. Child life specialists, who are a part of the interdisciplinary team in hospitals, provide a unique perspective with their knowledge of child development and coping. Their skill sets have the ability to support patients and families when navigating difficult situations and traumatic events. Recent initiatives in healthcare have encouraged knowledge and understanding of “trauma-informed care” to facilitate providing a “trauma-informed approach”. Child life specialists should be trauma-informed to best meet the needs of the patients and families they serve.


Masters of Child Life