Child Life Therapy is here to help!

May 7, 2020 | Katrina Sorensen, Research Coordinator | @katrinasorensen

Child Life

For children and teenagers, the hospital can be a very scary place. Whether your child is visiting Mayo Clinic getting evaluated for a new diagnosis, a check-up, a procedure, or just to visit a loved one, Mayo Clinic and the Windland Smith Rice Genetic Heart Rhythm Clinic want to make it easier for them to cope with the stress and anxiety of the medical environment.

The Child Life Program at Mayo Clinic's Children's Center provides child life specialists trained in child development to provide age-appropriate support to children and families during medical experiences.

As a unit dedicated to the needs of children outside of the medical part, the Child Life Program at Mayo Clinic strives to:

  • Minimize the stress and anxiety of the medical environment for children, teens and their families
  • Encourage understanding and increase familiarity by preparing children and families for their medical experiences
  • Support parents and other caregivers, and encourage their participation as part of their child's health care team
  • Recognize the needs of siblings or other children who may also be affected by a child's illness or trauma
  • Help children and families maintain their normal everyday experiences and stay connected


Marne Matysek, pictured to the right, is the Windland Smith Rice Genetic Heart Rhythm Clinic's Certified Child Life Specialist. Whether your child is struggling with their diagnosis and treatment of their disease, or with everything surrounding the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Marne is available to help. Through video or in-person visits, Marne can:

  • Help create coping plans for daily cares at home
  • Prepare kids, parents, and families for their visit to the clinic or hospital, and any tests or procedures
  • Help parents come up with developmentally appropriate language to use to explain heart conditions and/or COVID-19
  • Answer questions and concerns from parents and kids

There are many different stressors in the world right now, but child life specialists are here to help!

For more information or to request child life services, contact any member of your health care team. You can also call 507-255-4091, email child life at, or view their brochure.

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