Submission for the Journal in 2022 is open now More
Acceptance of Application Forms for participation in International Academic Conferences 
(CIES-2023; PPPMSF-2023is open now More
Attendees can register for the Certificate of Participation Register here
Institutional Partnership Proposal More
The Play Specialist in the Pediatric Healthcare: Evidence-Based Professionalism, Issues in Practice, and Training Across Different Countries
Perasso G.1,2
1 University of Milano-Bicocca, Italy
2 Il Porto dei Piccoli Onlus, Italy



For developmental psychologists, playing is a crucial parameter to monitor children and adolescents’ physical, emotional, cognitive, and executive development and wellbeing. In the psychotherapy setting, play is a promotor of positive therapeutic change because it allows the child to express beliefs, memories, wishes, feelings, and subconscious contents, from a safe and indirect point of view. Play is a fundamental human right during the whole life cycle, and it becomes even more important for those children and adolescents who are hospitalized or experiencing medical treatments at home (European Association for Children in Hospital, 1988). Entering a medical setting can elicit children’s and adolescents’ distress on many levels (e.g., anxiety, depression, hypochondria, acting out, externalizing, and internalizing problems) since their familiar routine is temporarily disrupted.

The aim of the study. To foster scientific community consideration about the Play Specialist role, paying attention to the state of the art, the international field of practice, the evidence supporting the effectiveness of the Play Specialist intervention, the main challenges, and the everyday issue that these professionals have to face to gain proper integration in the national and international healthcare system.





Play, hospital, children, play specialist, training





Bandstra, N. F., Skinner, L., Leblanc, C., Chambers, C. T., Hollon, E. C., Brennan, D., & Beaver, C. (2008). The role of child life in pediatric pain management: A survey of child life specialists. The Journal of Pain, 9(4), 320–329. 

Bricher, G. (2000). Children in the hospital: Issues of power and vulnerability. Pediatric Nursing, 26(3), 277–282. 

Burns-Nader, S., & Hernandez-Reif, M. (2016). Facilitating play for hospitalized children through child life services. Childrens Health Care, 45(1), 121. 

European Association for Children in Hospital. (1998). The EACH Charter 

Francischinelli, A. G. B., Almeida, F. D. A., & Fernandes, D. M. S. O. (2012). Routine use of therapeutic play in the care of hospitalized children: Nurses’ perceptions. Acta Paulista de Enfermagem, 25(1), 1823. 

Gill, C. (2010). Helping children cope with renal disease: the role of play specialist. Journal of Renal Nursing2(5), 244–247. 

Goh, G., Edmonds, L., & Christos, J. (2019). Development and evaluation of play specialist documentation in a New Zealand hospital. Nursing Children and Young People, 31(2), 32–36. 

Lindqvist, I. (1974). Play as therapy. Pediatrician3, 295–300. 

Metzger, T., Mignogna, K., & Reilly, L. (2013). Child life specialists: Key members of the team in pediatric radiology. Journal of Radiology Nursing32(4), 153159. 

Perasso, G., Maggiore, A., Allegri, C., & Camurati, G. (2020). Telematic intervention based on the Play Specialist approach in the COVID-19 era: Benefits for parents of children with clinical conditions. International Journal of Preventive Health and Medicine1(1), 1–7. 

Porto dei Piccoli. (202129 January)1st International Round Table on Playing in the Hospital. 

Simonelli, I., Raúl, M., Bennett, S., Clarke, A., Fernandes, G. A. I., Fløtten, K., Maggi, S., Robinson, J. E., Simonelli, F., Vaghri, Z., Webb, E., & Goldhagen, J. (2014). A rights and equity-based “Platform and Action Cycle” to advance child health and well being by fulfilling the rights of children. Canadian Journal of Children’s Rights, 1(1), 199–218. 

Ullan, A. M., & Belver, M. H. (2019). Integrative pediatrics and child care play as a source of psychological well-being for hospitalized children: Study Review. Integrative Pediatrics and Child Care, 2(1), 92–98.




Information about the author:

Perasso Giulia – email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology, Neuroscience, Data Science, Department of Psychology, University of Milano-Bicocca, Milan, Italy; Research Consultant, Porto dei Piccoli Onlus, Genoa, Italy.

Cite this article as:



Perasso, G. (2021). The Play Specialist in the pediatric healthcare: Evidence-based professionalism, issues in practice, and training across different countriesInternational Journal of Science Annals, 4(1), 45–47.


Perasso, G., 2021. "The Play Specialist in the pediatric healthcare: Evidence-based professionalism, issues in practice, and training across different countries". International Journal of Science Annals, [online] 4(1), pp. 45–47. viewed 30 June 2021,


Perasso G.. The Play Specialist in the pediatric healthcare: Evidence-based professionalism, issues in practice, and training across different countries. International Journal of Science Annals [Internet]. 2021 [cited 30 June 2021]; 4(1): 45–47. Available from:

  © 2018-2022 International Journal of Science Annals. All Rights Reserved