HDFS401 Child Life Theory and Practice (3 semester hours)

Child Life Theory and Practice will support students in the application of knowledge of child development to educate, prepare, and support children and their families through the processes of hospitalization and changes in family dynamics related to illness. Child Life Theory and Practice is taught by a Certified Child Life Specialist and will meet one of the requirements of the Child Life Council to become a Certified Child Life Specialist. Pursuit of Child Life certification upon completion of this course is not required but is encouraged.

HDFS402 Benefits of Therapeutic Play (3 semester hours)

This course provides an overview of the principles of therapeutic play, including history, theories, techniques, applications and skills. The content focuses on basic therapy skill development within the context of ethical and cultural diversity-sensitive practice. Attention is given understanding the role of therapeutic play in the context of the participant’s clinical (medical treatment) and non-clinical system (family, school, community). Participants learn strategies for engaging children in art, music, and other alternative therapeutic play to educate them on an adult’s diagnosis or on their own diagnosis. Participants are introduced to a variety of online resources available for further support. Interest in or pursuit of Child Life certification is not required. (Prerequisite: HDSFS401)

HDFS403 Death, Dying, and Grief (3 semester hours)

This course introduces students to concepts surrounding the nature of suffering and issues of death and dying. Students examine concepts from a theoretical perspective with attention to ethical and moral issues from a cross-cultural diversity perspective and the impact of death, dying and bereavement on a family and community. Participants explore stages of grief and apply them to case studies or their own patient experiences and engage with tools such as legacy building and memento creation, identify and utilize resources that promote positive coping skills, strategies related to providing children bad news or notifying them on death or impending death. Interest in or pursuit of Child Life certification is not required. Note: This course focuses on death, dying and grief in pediatric care.

HDFS496 Practicum Experience (3 semester hours)

This course is an elective option for the Child Life Certificate and the BA in Human Development and Family Studies degree/Child Life option. The course is accepted by the Association of Child Life Professionals (ACLP) towards the elective requirement for certification eligibility. It is not accepted towards any of the 7 specific courses. It is the student’s responsibility to secure their own practicum. APUS is open to establishing affiliation agreements with hospitals for the purpose of supporting a practicum placement. (Prerequisite: HDFS401)

HDFS497 Internship Experience (3 semester hours)

Internship Experience is designed to support students who are completing an internship for Child Life Specialist. This experience will expose students to increasing relevant work practices in their area of study. Students will complete their Internship Experience while participating in online discussions weekly throughout the course. Students will be expected to complete a work journal, keep accurate time records, and evaluate their internship experience. The course will integrate the competencies as outlined by the profession throughout the course and encourage application of skills learned. Note: Students are required to secure their own internship experience. The University does not assist in placement.