Established in 1993, The Therapeutic Clown Program at SickKids uses spontaneous humour and gentle play to minimize stress during hospitalization and treatment.
A hospital can be an overwhelming place for a child. It is often the first time a child is away from home - away from the familiarity of family and routine. Now, their comfortable bed and familiar night light are replaced with strange, blinking lights and weird, beeping noises. In hospital, a child wants to know who the people coming in and out of their room are - and do they have a needle? Fear of the new and unknown contributes to the perception that the hospital is a frightening place.
Imagine how different a child’s hospital experience might be if the next person to come to their room was wearing a red nose and a funny looking hat. Instead of giving needles, the therapeutic clowns ask if they would like to play. If the child says ‘yes’, then the fun begins and a child can do what is normal and natural to them - play.
A therapeutic clown at SickKids can become a “constant” for a child; a stable being who comes back again and again. A clown can become a child’s confidante, playmate and friend, offering comfort and emotional support at a time when children and their families need it most. Therapeutic clowning is an innovative and effective therapy and like laughter, is contagious.
Therapeutic Clown T-shirts are now available!
SickKids therapeutic clowns and their friend Hermin have their very own, exclusive T-shirts at The 5Fifty5 Shop! The three shirts feature the 'favourite things' of these SickKids personalities: A.Leboo’s famous tutus; Ranger Ray’s trusty pet duck, Moose; and Hermin with his preferred snack – bubbles and fluff! The proceeds will go to WAV fundraising priorities, which includes the Therapeutic Clown Program.
Questions about Creative Arts Therapy and Referrals?
Please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Kimberly O’Leary, Professional Practice Lead - Child Life and Creative Arts Therapy