From speech therapist to health play specialist - meet Lucy!

⭐ Lucy is a Starlight-funded community health play specialist from Cardiff. Read about her journey in her own words. 

"Before becoming a health play specialist, I worked as a paediatric speech and language therapist. When a role for a Starlight health play specialist became available, I had no hesitation applying because I was familiar with Starlight’s Distraction Boxes, and I was keen to learn more about the charity’s bigger vision. I think what Starlight is doing to help improve play provision for children in healthcare is fantastic."

Wales is a beautiful place to live. I love to walk my rescue dog Evie in the mountains and on the beaches.

Lucy, a community health play specialist.

👉 What does your role look like?

"I now work in the Aneurin Bevan University Health Board as one of Starlight’s funded community health play specialists. I cover the Gwent area and work in children’s centres, patients' homes and special schools. 

My role is to support children and young people up to 18 years old who have procedural anxiety, meaning they have significant concerns or worries about a required medical procedure. 

I work collaboratively with children and their families, and also provide consultations to medical teams, offering advice on how best to support a child or young person."

👉 What does play allow you to do you?

"Play helps me to build a rapport with the children I work with; I choose materials appropriate for that child’s stage of development, and ensure the play is enjoyable and motivating. 

I also use play to explain what will happen during their medical procedure, this may involve using real medical equipment on a doll or using play mobile characters and a model MRI machine. I incorporate individual interests to make this preparation more meaningful for each child."

👉 How does play help the children you support?

"Playing in this way helps to familiarise a child with the medical procedure and provides opportunities to address their questions, worries and misconceptions. It also helps children and young people to talk about previous experiences of medical procedures.

Generally, as visual learners, children benefit from these techniques, and they can repeat them multiple times to help them process the information; it allows them to be active participants in the playful therapeutic process."