Child life specialists work with pediatric patients and their family members in order to provide understanding, control and normalcy to the healthcare setting. Enhanced levels of understanding and control help all members of the medical team, including family members, deal with such traumatic experiences.
Storytelling can be an effective tool to help children "learn and cope". In the field of child life, the use of books for this purpose is referred to as bibliotherapy.
A Note to Caregivers and SiblingsA brain tumor diagnosis is shocking and frightening. It is definitely a call to arms for an entire family and/or extended family of friends. It does not, however, have to be treated as the end of the world. The young patient would be far better served by parents and siblings (and other family members) who treat it as a "bump in the road" on the journey we call life, and a reminder to take the hand that was dealt and play it as well as possible. While initial diagnosis and treatment can be all consuming, there has to be a group effort to take part in the enjoyable activities of a "normal" life whenever and however possible. This is no time for a moratorium on fun. Look for the joy in ordinary moments, even if you feel overburdened with worry. Including friends in activities often insures more fun, and allows a young patient to forget him/ herself for a while. Not only is it important for the young patient to see that life before the brain tumor diagnosis still exists, but it is equally important for siblings and for parents, too.
-Diane Ducoff - Author's Mother