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Child Life Therapy


"I hold a master's degree in Child Life Therapy and an undergraduate degree in Early Childhood Education. Over the past twenty years, my professional journey has been dedicated to serving Maine families. I have gained diverse experience, including owning and operating child care centers, teaching pre-K through grade 3, and working for non-profit organizations to support vulnerable families. Five years ago, I ventured into private practice, where I continue to provide specialized care and support to children and their families. Throughout my career, I have come to firmly believe that the resilience of a family is deeply intertwined with the strength of its community support. I am passionate about fostering a nurturing and empowering environment for families, ensuring that they have the resources and support that they need to thrive."

Kimberly Leighton, MS, CCLS

Founder, Child Life Specialist

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. 

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.

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