Miracle Monday: Golisano child life specialist helps children with disabilities learn to play

Reporter: Amanda Hall
Published: Updated:

In today’s Miracle Monday, the little things can make a big difference.

When you have a child in the hospital, that can mean the comforts of home, an activity to ease your mind, or in one mom’s case, a way for her child to play.

Natasha Magginnis’ little boy Liahm receives life-saving treatment at Golisano Children’s Hospital.

“My son, he has a traumatic brain injury and traumatic brain bleed,” Magginnis said.

Liahm, 4, suffered a brain injury and is now developmentally disabled.

From day to day, the doctors, nurses and attendings might change, but one constant is her family’s child life specialist Mandy Groulx.

“I didn’t have a lot of support,” Magginnis said. “I feel like I was by myself. Having her in my life. It’s been awesome.

Groulx is awesome at what she does.

Her specialty is getting children with developmental disabilities to play.

“Everyone knows how to play. Everyone can communicate through play. And that’s what I do a lot in my role is use play to just build a relationship and build that trust,” Groulx said.

It’s her mission to find that for all of her patients. And she has a lot of tricks of the trade, whether it’s distraction techniques or stress relief.

Natasha Magginnis hugs Mandy Roulx, her child’s life specialist. (CREDIT: WINK News)

“We’re learning together, what he likes, what he doesn’t like, because he is nonverbal, we can kind of figure out from his facial expressions from his heart rate, things like that,” Groulx said. “Other cues on whether he’s enjoying an activity or not, he’ll give us a little like side eye and a little grin. And we’re like, alright, He’s liking this.”

The point is to make the tough stuff a little more bearable.

It’s those extras that help families feel supported, that your donations to the Children’s Miracle Network help to pay for.

Any time you see the Children’s Miracle Network hot air balloon at stores and restaurants, your donation is going to help fund those more of these Miracle Monday moments at Golisano Children’s Hospital.

If you want to help the Child Life Team at Golisano Childrens Hospital, there is a wish list registry available with items they need. Anything can be bought and it automatically ships to Child Life.

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