Child Life Specialists, Ride the Wave!
I just returned from presenting the keynote speech at the Midwest
Child Life Conference at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin. It went
well. The Child Life Specialists have a great infectious spirit (no
pun intended) that really buzzes when you get them together into
the same room. I can’t wait until the national conference in
In my speech Riding the Wave: Getting and Staying Attuned with Your Patients and Yourself, I focused
on the idea of attunement, the unique experience of being understood by another, giving the person a
sense of stability and safety. We did a powerful attunement exercise, focused on attitudes to develop
attunement, types of patients that can challenge our attunement abilities, the impact of trauma on
children and provided some tools to help kids cope better.
As usual, stories about my children, especially my son with autism, Luke, stole the show. I shared about
our own struggles with doctor visits, his unique communication challenges and about our visit to the
Whitehouse and our encounter with the Secret Service.
It seems as though people are starving for information, tools and guidance regarding kids on the autism
spectrum. Who can blame them? Taking a child with autism to the grocery store is hard enough but
taking them to a doctor’s office or the hospital can be catastrophic if we don’t prepare everyone
Thanks again to everyone connected with the Child Life Council and Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin,
especially Eileen Clark and Megan Massey.