Support Programs for Children with Cancer & Blood Disorders
When your child has been diagnosed with cancer or a blood disorder, you and your family need support for what comes next. At Stephen D. Hassenfeld Children’s Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders, part of Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital at NYU Langone, we provide programs and events that are aimed at providing your entire family with the guidance you need. These child and family support services and resilience programs are provided by Sala Institute for Child and Family Centered Care.
Our child life specialists help children better understand their diagnosis and use play and other interactive tools to ease worries and help them cope with treatment in an age-appropriate way. Some children find creativity to be the best way to express their emotions, and our music therapists provide unique opportunities for children to communicate what they are feeling. Pet therapy, provided by volunteers from The Good Dog Foundation, is available during some clinic hours.
Our social workers are available for emotional support, as well as to connect you with resources in your community and guide you as you make decisions regarding your child’s care. We also offer psychology and psychiatry services to cope with feelings of anxiety or depression, as well as group therapy. Spiritual, religious, and chaplaincy support is also available to you and your child.
Wellness and Recovery Support
Cancer treatments are just one aspect of your child’s care plan. We also want to make sure your child is eating well and getting the physical assistance and support he or she needs.
During cancer treatment, many children and teens experience loss of appetite, taste changes, nausea, additional caloric needs, mouth or throat pain, stomach pain, and immune system challenges that limit certain food choices.
Our registered dietitian helps families handle these challenges by answering your food-related questions, providing recipe ideas, and recommending strategies for addressing issues such as low white blood cell counts.
Physical and Occupational Therapy
Disease and treatment can take a physical toll on a child’s body, affecting his or her ability to participate in recreational and school activities. Our physical therapists and occupational therapists help your child regain strength and the ability to perform everyday tasks. Speech–language pathologists can help with issues related to communication and swallowing.
Events and Celebrations
We find many reasons to celebrate at Stephen D. Hassenfeld Children’s Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders. If you’d like to be a part of making these moments a bit brighter, please call the Child Life office at 212-263-9919.
Back to School Blast
To get children excited for returning to the classroom, we host an annual Back to School Blast. In past years, children have received school supplies and backpacks, and were able to participate in educational sessions with members of the New York City Fire Department, The Museum of Modern Art, dentists from NYU School of Dentistry, and other community educators.
The event celebrates the various ways children return to school, including home instruction or the traditional classroom. Parents and guardians are invited to participate in information sharing about helping their children transition back into the academic environment.
We bring holiday cheer and fun to children and their families. Throughout the year, the children engage in holiday-related crafts and festivities. The year culminates in a month of parties when all families are invited to enjoy activities, food, and gifts.
Ongoing support groups and programs are continuously in development to help patients and families contend with the unique challenges posed when a loved one becomes seriously ill.
- Parent and caregiver support groups allow parents to share their common experiences and concerns.
- Sibling support groups and events help brothers and sisters of children under our care understand what their sibling is going through and how to manage the impact on themselves and their family.
- Teen and tween support groups and activities address how to cope positively with illness while providing a safe and supportive forum to express thoughts, fears, concerns, and joys with same-aged peers.
- The survivor support group helps children and teens maintain connections to peers with similar medical histories and experiences, and discuss physical and emotional issues as well as the challenges they may encounter as they transition back to a normal routine.
Integrative Health Services
Just as important to your physical wellbeing is your mental and spiritual wellness. Through our integrative medicine programs, we help you, your child, and your family relieve stress and manage emotions. We offer horticultural therapy, massage therapy, acupuncture, yoga, and more.