There is nothing like the great feeling you get when you realize that you have found the perfect tool for your child life toolkit and I’m sure many of you know that feeling I am talking about. It’s like a eureka moment when you ask, “Where have you been all my (child life) life?”
That’s pretty much how I feel about the Canon Selphy Printer right now. A few months ago someone off-handedly mentioned this fairly inexpensive product to me and I had forgotten about it until I was in need of an easy way to print photos off the ipad. I decided to order it and hoped it was worth the relatively inexpensive price tag. It was and the addition of this simple tool has allowed me to reach children and families in ways I didn’t predict. Below are examples of just a few ways that I have found this printer can be utilized.
The making of a photo yearbook documenting a patient’s stay as discharge day approached. A great way to allow for processing of the experience and prepare for discharge. The patient will have a tangible way to look back at the experience once at home and it also allows for a tool for sharing that story with others outside the hospital. It could be used as a school reentry tool.
There are many reasons why hospitals may restrict visitation of siblings at hospitals. Flu season, for example, or when other viruses or illnesses are cropping up inpatient and they want to reduce transmission. Sibling support is important during hospitalization but even more so when circumstances lead to the inability for sibling visitation. Creating a photo book featuring the hospitalized sibling, the environment and the people they interact with during the day, such as nurses and doctors, can be a great tool to foster connection with the sibling at home while apart. It also allows for the sibling that is at home to ask questions or voice concerns. Then, when any visitation restrictions are lifted and siblings are allowed to visit, they will already have been prepared for what to expect by having the photo book as a reference.
Using photos to decorate a hospital room or crib is a great way to promote normalization and foster connection and support when families can’t be together. There is camera technology on every phone so parents often have lots of images of their kids at hand. Offering them the option to print them out is not only something parents will appreciate but it can often lead to great therapeutic conversation starters about life before the hospital and hospitalization itself.
Photos allow for the parent to see progress and I have found this especially helpful for parents who have come from a NICU environment. It can be very powerful for parents to be able to see how far their child has come and the CCLS can help facilitate conversation around the gains a child has made through the viewing of images.
I look forward to discovering even more ways to use this tool and would love to hear if anyone else uses this printer and what you love about it.