Monday, May 29, 2017

That's a Wrap: ACLP Conference 2017

And there you have it, the ACLP Conference 2017 in Las Vegas is over. Thanks to all of you lovely people who came up to us and introduced yourself! 

Check out the hashtag #childlifetakesvegas on Instagram to see all of the fun from this weekend!
In order to recap everything we learned, we would spend most of our next waking hours typing vigorously away. Instead, we will just highlight the things that stood out to us the most! 

Sydney was lucky enough to be able to spend Wednesday with the winners of the International Conference Scholarship winners. She was able to tour them around her hospital in Vegas and learn about their programs(in the UK, Malaysia, and Hong Kong). It was so surprising to hear that some things about child life are universal.  


 Caroline arrived Thursday and we wasted no time hiking Red Rock National Park in true southern belle fashion in dresses and heels.

 Alright enough fun and games let's get on to the conference!

Key Note: 
The key note speaker, Kevin Spencer is the founder of the foundation "Healing of Magic." His presentation was compelling, educational, and inspiring. After a personal injury that landed him in the hospital, he strove to discover how magic had its place in the therapeutic realm. Read more of his story at

The Punitive Nature of Rewards: A Controversial Assessment of Popular Behavior Modification
How many times do you catch yourself or maybe a team member say, "If you just hold really still, will give you a prize?" Catherine Reed from Golisano Chidren's Hospital of Southwest Florida completed some research regarding the success of such rewards, the dependency on the treasure box system, and new ways to teach children life long skills instead of quick compliance. She argued that while incentive programs are sometimes easier and maybe even most appropriate, as Child Life Specialists we should challenge ourselves to be creative and look for alternative ways to get to the root of behavior that may be getting in the way of procedures, etc. 

Back the the Basics ... Examining the Modern Child Life Toolbox
This was potentially Sydney's favorite session! Thanks Karyn Positano and Shaindy Alexander from the Hospital for Sick Children in Canada for an incredible learning adventure. Keep an eye out for a future Toy Tuesday post in the days to come to hear all about Hermin! 

What Do You Stand For? Being an Emerging Leader in Child Life
Stephanie Hopkinson sought to inspire and empower all those in attendance of her session to truly reflect on their values and experiences that led them to where they are today. She called out the leader in all of us and had some very interesting concepts she introduced. Be on the lookout for another post going into more detail about her session on Leadership! 

Constructing the Play Lady: Child Life and the Female Human Identity
Have you ever been ashamed to be referred to as the "play lady?" Our founding mothers held that term with pride all the while seeking to pursue a higher level of dignity and respect as an advocate for developmentally appropriate practices when it came to children in the hospitals. Davina Wheelwright of Children's Hospital of Michigan presented a compelling review of literature and personal insight about the history of child life, the evolution of gender roles and stereotypes, along with the modern day struggle of women to balance a work and family life. 

Closing Session: The Positivity Solution
Shola Richards, human resource trainer for Children's of Los Angeles by day and motivational speaker and author of The Positivity Solution by night, presented an empowering and soul searching closing session to launch us back into the world. 
He challenged us to ask ourselves three questions: 
1. Is it kind? 
2. Is it true? 
3. Is it necessary? 
He also reminded us that we are Child Life Specialists and we have a place at the table. Don't ever let anyone steal your thunder, power, or joy. We can make a difference today.

The Exhibit Hall did not disappoint either, full of toys, distraction items, MRI goggles, VR games, alternatives to the dreaded hospital gown, and much much more

Thanks to the ACLP for putting on an engaging conference!

Couldn't make it and would like to learn more? Conference All Access Pass should be available for purchase in the weeks to come from Remember every 5 years, we are up for re-certification and this is a great way to earn some PDU's. 

Were you there and we missed you? Tell us your favorite part about conference! Which workshop fired you up to go back to work this week?

Sydney and Caroline


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I regret that due to my busy routine I couldn't get to the conference. I was ready for it for long time but unfortunately got stuck in work. Thanks for the brief recap.

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