There are three different kinds of healthcare professionals that deal with children,pediatricians,child specialists and child life specialists.
In the UK a pediatrician and a child life specialist are one and the same.They work with their young patients,their families and anyone else involved in their care and welfare.They are not general practitioners but specialists who are referred to them by their GP.
Their aim is to make their young patients and their families understand the medical procedures the child has to face and their main objective is to take away the stress of being ill.If the child has to be hospitalized the pediatrician will take away any fear the child may have and minimize the disruption of their life by being in hospital whilst helping them maintain a good family relationship.
In the United States the role of pediatricians and child life specialists are completely different.Pediatricians are generally primary care physicians who specialise in dealing with childrens illnesses.
The American child life specialists are solely employed in hospitals and they concentrate on the childrens' mental state.The specialist will devise different methods of reducing the childrens' stress at being in hospital as well as dealing with the family's worries.
This is achieved in a number of ways including playing games,preparing the child for his or her operation,educating both the child and the family about what is about to happen and if the child is very ill helping the family deal with the illness or in the worst cases the child's death.
Child life specialists are different to other healthcare specialists as their training includes how to deal with the cognitive,emotional and physical development of each child.
A child specialist is completely different to the other two.They are registered mental health practitioners trained in child therapy and development.They are also trained mediators and are experts in separation and divorce procedures.
Often when a couple separate it has a devastating effect on the child or children.They cannot understand why Mummy and Daddy do not want to live together any more and in their childish mind they think it is all their fault.They think one parent or both don't love them any more and they find it difficult to tell their parents how they feel.
The child specialist remains neutral,not siding with either parent,and is there solely to support the child and make sure his or her needs are met.They offer the support the child needs and they will encourage him or her to talk about their worries.The specialist will also ensure the child realises even though the parents will not be living together any more they both still love their child very much.