Child Life Television (CL-TV), an initiative that provides IWK patients with the chance to create their own television content, has reached over 100,000 views of its programs on YouTube. Written, produced and performed by kids, the videos have been a staple of the hospital’s inpatient television network since 2011. With topics ranging from hockey to giraffes to living with asthma, the shows have also gained a following on the popular online video platform.
CL-TV provides patients a creative outlet that fosters positive self-esteem, and teaches them new skills. It also provides a distraction from the difficulties of a hospital stay and enhances the Child Life goal of providing therapeutic play that normalizes the hospital environment, develops coping strategies and maintains the developmental skills of children and youth during their time in hospital.
For identical twins, Kendra and Kinsey Fader the IWK has been a home away from home since their premature births ten years ago.
“Making shows is really fun,” says Kinsey. “We laugh a lot with Buddington and he remembers so many of our stuffed animal’s names.”
“Making our own shows makes me forget I’m in the hospital,” says Kendra. “I also like to watch his shows at home on YouTube on my iPad when I have to use silver nitrate sticks around my GJ button because it really hurts and it helps distract me and makes me happy.”
The content created by patients also benefits patients who watch CL-TV. They get to see other young people going through similar experiences and learn about the hospital environment, making their stay less intimidating. And those benefits extend beyond the hospital walls.
“Posting videos on YouTube allows patients to stay connected with friends and family while in hospital,” says Cleve Sauer, Therapeutic Clown and CL-TV Coordinator at the IWK. “The channel also allows them to stay connected with the hospital after they have gone home.”
The IWK Child Life channel currently boasts over 100 videos created by patients with the help of child life specialists and workers, a music therapist and of course, Buddington, the therapeutic clown. The programming is often educational, informative, therapeutic, and always fun.