A new diagnosis often comes with many changes and a lot of new information. This can be overwhelming and confusing for children and teens of all ages. Our certified child life specialists have educational backgrounds that prepare them to explain a new diagnosis to a teen or child in a way that they can understand, based on the child’s age and development.
Teaching tools such as puppets, visuals, medical equipment, and even games can also be used to teach children and teens about their diagnosis. When teaching a child or teen about their diagnosis, it is important to focus on the information that is most important to the child, including:
An explanation of the diagnosis
- An explanation of the body systems involved, how those systems are supposed to work, and in what way those systems aren’t doing what they are supposed to do
- Symptom management or living with the new diagnosis
- Possible medications, treatments or hospitalizations that may be necessary
- The five senses as a guide for what the child will experience
Benefits of Diagnosis Education
When a child or teen is provided information about a new diagnosis in a way that he or she can understand, it helps minimize fear and anxiety. It takes away some of their uncertainty and helps them to better deal with their diagnosis. The child or teen can feel a sense of control over their situation, leading to more positive coping with their new diagnosis and hospital experience.