Gaming for Good

Xbox 360 systems now available in patient rooms at C.S. Mott Children's Hospital

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When Anna Dai and Efrain Segarra signed up to take an entry-level computer engineering course at University of Michigan, they expected to learn about game software development.

What they did not expect was to find themselves taking gaming to a whole new level through a massive project at U-M C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital. Thanks to their efforts – along with the generosity of dozens of other individuals and groups – patients at Mott will now find their room equipped with an Xbox 360.

Out of the classroom, into the real world

Efrain Segarra was a freshman when he took Professor David Chesney’s course.

“Dr. Chesney calls it Gaming for the Greater Good,” says Segarra, referring to the course’s focus on developing software that can benefit children with disabilities.

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Groove to the beat: DIY drum activity

DIY drum activities for kidsPlaying music is fun, but you don’t need expensive instruments to make music. Using some simple household items, you can make your own instruments and then start grooving and playing together.

DIY Drum Activity

Supplies:

  • Packing tape (clear)
  • Cylinder-shaped object open at top and bottom (cardboard oatmeal cylinders work well, ice cream buckets, or a section of large PVC pipe)
  • Scissors

Instructions:

Remove both ends of the cylinder you plan to use. Be sure to cover any rough or sharp edges with tape. Take the packing tape and make big strips across one of the open ends (run the tape about two or three inches down the side of your drum). Be sure to keep the tape tight across the top as you work. Make an X with every two pieces of tape you use. Keep placing strips of tape until the entire top of your drum is covered with at least two layers of tape.

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DIY Shaker Activity

Shake up your summer with musical fun

mott blog - clv 2015 - musical shaker activity1Musical shakers are a great activity for kids of any age. You can vary the activity based on the ages of the group you are working with!

Supplies:

  • Plastic fillable eggs
  • Rice, dry beans (try different things to experiment with the sound)
  • Tape

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Code Crayon

Child life specialists do a lot more than “play”

Code Crayon - the role of a child life specialistCode Crayon….Code Crayon…Get Child Life STAT!

The hospital world is one of many codes. For those of us who work here, we are trained to react quickly and with great precision when a code is initiated.

Just like with the many codes used in the healthcare world, the tools and procedures that child life specialists reach for when we’re called upon are truly evidence-based, and are an important part of your child’s health care.

As I child life specialist, when I hear the sound of crying toddlers who are having their vitals taken in preoperative bays, I grab the magical bubbles that are packaged in a crayon shape. Off I go down the hall, like the Pied Piper playing a flute of bubbles. Ninety percent of the time, bubbles work to quickly calm a tearful child. The other 10 percent, the Certified Child Life Specialist (CCLS) becomes any number of extraordinary characters equipped with magical toys. Okay, that may be a bit exaggerated, but that often is how my day feels as I enter the PACU and the preoperative work ups begin.

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My name is Kristan, and I help reduce anxiety for kids fighting to Block Out Cancer.

Kristan Freitag, Child Life SpecialistI always knew I wanted to work with children, I just wasn’t sure what avenue that would take. During one of my school breaks my sophomore year at Central Michigan University, I did what is called an alternative break. I joined a group volunteering at St. Jude Children’s Hospital. I fell in love with the Child Life profession while I was there.

I love my job. I first interned at Mott about five years ago and then joined the team as a Child Life Specialist. Today, I work with pediatric patients in our radiation oncology unit. Before I started here, there was not a Child Life Specialist on this unit and about 40 percent of the patients had to be sedated for their radiation treatment. Because most of the kids receive radiation multiple days in a row, sedating them so frequently was a concern. We’ve been able to reduce that to about 2 percent.

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Friday is cupcake therapy day

Cupcake therapy at Mott Children's HospitalSpending time in the hospital isn’t a piece of cake, but on Fridays at C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital it’s cupcake time. Every Friday afternoon, we host Cupcake Therapy in the Family Center. Cupcake Therapy is a great informal time for family members and patients to relax and enjoy decorating cupcakes.

Each week we have a theme based on the season or what’s happening at the University or in the Health System. We’ve done St. Patrick’s Day, spring flowers, March Madness, maize and blue and even made Despicable Me-themed Minion cupcakes. Chef Steve Shifano and his staff bake the cupcakes and the Family Center provides the frosting and all the decorations. Ann Hendrick, Family Center Coordinator, and I roll out the cupcake cart each Friday. We create a few sample cupcakes each week and those who come down to decorate use our theme and then express their own creativity.

We started calling it Cupcake Therapy after one of our Friday regulars came down and said he was there for Cupcake Therapy. Continue reading