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Child Life On Call: Parents of children with an illness or medical condition share their stories with a child life specialist

Mar 6, 2024

Advocacy, Compassion, Innovation: Elise's Child Life Journey

"Working with children with medical complexity and developmental differences isn't just a job; it's rooted in who I am." - Elise Cofer, CCLS

Research Article: Fitting the Pieces Together 

Lead Researcher: Elise Cofer

In this captivating episode of Child Life On Call, Katie Taylor sits down with Elise, a Nashville-born child life specialist who brings her passion and dedication to the hematology oncology unit at Vanderbilt. Elise's journey into child life, driven by a background deeply embedded in caring for children with special needs, showcases her commitment to enhancing pediatric healthcare. Through her story, listeners will gain insights into the challenging yet rewarding world of a child life specialist. Elise discusses the evolution of her career, her groundbreaking research on caregiver support, and her vision for a more inclusive and personalized approach to pediatric healthcare.

"Elise's insights remind us of the critical role child life specialists play in not just supporting children, but whole families through their healthcare journeys." - Katie Taylor, CCLS

Key Insights and Lessons:

  • The Holistic Approach: Elise's interdisciplinary background highlights the importance of integrating care for children with special needs, emphasizing a holistic approach to their well-being.
  • Research as a Pathway for Change: Elise shares her research findings on caregiver experiences, revealing a profound need for targeted child life interventions that support not only the child but the entire family unit.
  • Advocacy and Empowerment: Through her work and research, Elise emphasizes the power of advocacy by caregivers and the role of child life specialists in empowering families to navigate the healthcare system effectively.
  • The Importance of Listening: One of the most critical skills in child life work, according to Elise, is the ability to listen—to truly hear the needs and wishes of children and their families, thereby tailoring support to each unique situation.


  • For Families: Elise recommends resources that provide guidance on navigating the healthcare system for children with medical complexities, emphasizing the importance of community support and advocacy.
  • For Child Life Specialists: Insights into integrating research findings into practice, enhancing the child life specialist's toolkit for supporting families dealing with medical complexities.

🌟 Connect and Share Your Story: Join our community on Instagram @ChildLifeOnCall to share your journey and find support from others navigating similar paths. 

As we continue to explore the depths of pediatric healthcare through stories like Elise's, we are reminded of the resilience, courage, and love that drive individuals to make a significant impact. Stay tuned for more inspiring episodes from Child Life On Call.

Whether you're a parent, healthcare professional, or simply interested in learning more about child life, this podcast is for you.

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Meet the host: 

Katie Taylor is the co-founder and CEO of Child Life On Call, a digital platform designed to provide parents, kids, and the care team with access to child life services tools and resources. She is a certified child life specialist with over 13 years of experience working in various pediatric healthcare settings. Katie is the author of the children's book, and has presented on the topics of child life and entrepreneurship, psychosocial care in the hospital, and supporting caregivers in the NICU setting both nationally and internationally. She is also the host of the Child Life On Call Podcast which features interviews with parents discussing their experiences throughout their child's medical journey. The podcast emphasizes the crucial role of child life services in enabling caregivers both at and beyond the bedside.