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In this month’s webinar, Leslie Welch, MS CCLS, Childhood Development Specialist, shares important information and tips on how to talk to your kids about your cancer diagnosis.
Topics covered include common emotional reactions kids experience when a parent has cancer, how to discuss treatment and side effects, where to seek additional support, talking about end of life, and more. With years of experience working with children and families navigating a cancer diagnosis, Leslie brings a wealth of experience to the table.
Leslie Welch, MS CCLS Childhood Development Specialist
Leslie is a Nashville native (graduating from University School of Nashville) and received her undergraduate degree from Vanderbilt University. After graduation, Leslie moved to New York City where she later received her Masters of Science degree in Child Life from Bank Street College of Education. Leslie began her child life career atNew York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center-William Randolph Hearst Burn Center.
In 2011, Leslie operated a one-person child life program in Cape Town, South Africa at The Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital where she worked closely with both the Pain Management and Palliative Care teams. Upon returning to the New York City, Leslie joined the team at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center specializing in Neuroblastoma and Surgical services. Additionally, Leslie served as a creative consultant for the Foundation for Art and Healing based inBrookline, MA. Early in Leslie’s career, she received the New York-Presbyterian Falcon Award for excellence in family-centered care. She was later recognized by the Band of Parents for distinction of service in oncologic psychosocial care.
In 2014, she returned to Nashville to open a private child life practice concentrating on the psychosocial needs of siblings of children challenged by chronic medical conditions. At that time, she created The Punch Pillow TM, a tool to help children ages 4-8y safely express emotions and develop healthy communication skills. Leslie also worked as a Certified Child Life Specialist in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt where she was elected “Team Member of the Month” within her first year.
As a program manager at Gilda’s Club Middle Tennessee, Leslie facilitates the program for families with children ages four and older to help them process and communicate about when they, or someone they love, has cancer and/or has died of cancer.