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Child Life Therapy

Therapeutic Play Activities
Supporting Children & Families

Grief & Loss • New/Ongoing Diagnosis
Divorce • Foster Care • Trauma

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"Every child needs at least one adult to be irrationally crazy about him or her."

Urie Bronfenbrenner - Developmental Psychologist

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Services to meet your child's needs


Therapeutic Play Group Sessions


Child Life Therapy 1:1 Sessions

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Child Life Therapy

What can child life therapy provide for my child?

Child life professionals provide psychosocial support to children, families and their support systems impacted by stress related to significant life experiences. These events could influence typical growth and development and child life professionals aim to minimize the risk of long-term negative effects. Children of all ages may experience emotions such as fear, shame, confusion and loneliness, which can inhibit their natural development. This can also lead to regression in some children and sometimes can cause long-term negative effects without support. While certified child life specialists are experts in child development and medical terminology, they do not diagnose. Referrals to other specialties will be recommended if necessary. Child Life Specialists are not mental health clinicians. They do not prescribe medications or diagnose.

Some of these adverse child experiences include:

  • Chronic illness of self or loved one

  • Hospitalization, or fear of hospitals

  • Loss of a loved one (including pet loss)

  • Divorce or family separation

  • Parent incarceration

  • Parent's substance use disorder  

  • Foster care adjustment

  • Bullying 

  • Anxiety/depression/phobias

  • Witnessing violent acts related to domestic violence or natural disasters.

What will the child life specialist do?​

*Foster a safe and therapeutic relationship characterized by compassion, empathy, respect and expertise in psychosocial and developmental needs.

*Encourage normalcy, empowerment and healthy coping strategies. 

*Enhance the child’s self-advocacy and communication skills through cultivating understanding and empathy within siblings and peers. 

*Provide developmentally appropriate explanations to the child about the sequence, nature, and reasons for life experiences.

*Provide play opportunities that promote a sense of mastery, optimal development and an understanding of significant life experiences.

*Engage the child in varied activities that facilitate identification and expression of emotions.

Some of these activities may include: 

  • Therapeutic play interventions

  • Legacy building for loved ones or pets

  • Creative writing, songwriting

  • Mindfulness exercises

  • Meditation & yoga

  • Role-playing activities

  • Medical procedure preparation

  • *Telehealth sessions available

Certified Child Life Specialists have a professional obligation to follow the Child Life Certification Commission’s Code of Professional Practice which outlines the ethical responsibilities of the professional. Child life professionals will only practice within areas of specialty for which they have received training. When the needs of children, families and their support systems extend beyond the scope of practice, it is the ethical responsibility of the child life professional to make recommendations for and referrals to additional services. (ACLP Position Paper, Scope of Practice 2019)

Home: About Therapy

Play Warriors, Inc.

82 Main Street

Office: Suite B6

Playroom: Suite B1

Bridgton, Maine 04009


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 Kimberly Leighton, MS, CCLS, RYT

Master's Child Life Therapy

Bachelor's in Early Childhood Development 

Founder•President•Lead Child Life Specialist

**Parent/Caregiver Recommendations**

"Kim is awesome to work with and my daughter absolutely loves playing with her to distract her during her weekly 7 hour infusions! She's a breath of fresh air and she is amazing to work with! We are super thankful that she travels to do in-home work as McKenzie's infusions are done at home now. I was looking for a child life specialist for months to make home visits and I couldn't find anyone. I was beyond excited when I made a few contacts and found out she was looking at starting up her own company! We are very thankful for Kim being a part of our journey! Thank you!" _Krystye Bettney 

"Often times when people or organizations have a motto, it's not something you can actively see or feel. That is not the case with Play Warriors; Kim truly understands the benefits of play and takes the time to get to know the whole child and their family to tailor her work to the needs and style of the child. She is always a calm presence, incredibly intuitive and thoughtful in her approach, and never strays from having her commitment to work in the best interest of the child. Her work is not only about children who are undergoing hospital procedures, she's incredibly gifted at working with children with anxiety, school challenges, sensory disorders and more. Further, she makes herself available to the family and the school, and her off-site visits were extremely beneficial as an addition to my kiddo's office visits. I'd highly recommend Kim and Play Warriors!" _Donna Vieira

"In March of 2018, my children went through the loss of my husband, their father/stepfather and our best friend. My children shut down and lost their smiles. I had to reevaluate myself and what I was going to do to pick up the pieces. I needed to get our smiles back! Play Warriors Of Maine has gone above and beyond what I would have ever expected. Kim is absolutely 110% and amazing, caring, understanding individual. She has given us our smile back!" Alexa Baumgardner

Home: About Me

My Professional Background

How my past has prepared me for this moment

August 1999 - June 2003

University of Maine at Farmington

Bachelor's Degree 

Obtained my degree in early childhood education with a minor in psychology. I conducted an independent study in child life therapy. I also enjoyed playing field hockey for the UMF beavers.

July 12, 2023

2004 Child Life Internship
Shriner's Hospitals for Children
Burn Unit - Boston, MA
2002 Child Life Practicum
Barbara Bush Children's Hospital
Portland, ME

Conducted a child life internship in Boston supporting patients and their families on the burn unit. Providing preparation for procedures, in-procedure coping and support, and debriefing. Also led activities in the playroom and the waiting room.

September 2006 - August 2012

Child Care Center Owner/Director
R.O.O.T.S. Enrichment Centers

Owned and operated as well as directed and taught at two large child care facilities in Gorham and Portland, ME. The child care also offered before and after care as well as summer camps. Ages 0-12. The philosophy was a blend of Reggio, Waldorf and Montessori early childhood techniques.

October 2012-2014

Head Start Teacher/Home Visitor

Supported low income children families in the classroom and for in home support.

April 2001 - August 2005

Assistant to Psychologist

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September 2006 - August 2015

Psychology Researcher

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