MD Anderson Cancer Center has many support groups and resources available year-round for children and their families. Support groups allow patients and family members to discuss their feelings, concerns, and experiences in a caring atmosphere. Most importantly, support groups can reduce isolation, anxiety, and stress. They can also improve mood, self-image and the ability to cope. Our highly skilled and professionally trained counselors, social workers and staff are also available to all patients and caregivers.
Available support groups for children at MD Anderson:
Child Life Specialist at the Proton Therapy Center — Laura Wiedemann
Laura helps children with healthcare-related fears or concerns by using medical play. She uses real, replica and toy medical and surgical equipment and supplies to relieve tensions about received or impending treatment.
These are backpacks for children between the ages of 5 through 17 and their parents. The kit contains different information and tools to assist in learning about cancer and healthy ways to cope. They are available upon request at the main MD Anderson building.
Children’s Lives Include Moments of Bravery (CLIMB)
The program provides emotional support to children who have parents with cancer. The CLIMB program offers two-hour group meetings each week consecutively for six weeks. In the meetings, facilitators use conversation and art to help children identify and appropriately express complex feelings. Even more, the children are given their own workbook to capture their progress, which they can share with their family at home. The program also offers a concurrent parent group which takes place at the same time as CLIMB. The parent group is facilitated by social work counselors giving parents information on how to help their children cope with a cancer diagnosis in the family.
Families can also visit The Learning Center, a patient education library that has current and reliable information on cancer prevention, treatment, coping and general health. There you will find books, CDs, DVDs, online medical journals, and more.
For more information or to register for any of these support programs, please contact the Department of Social Work at 713-792-6195.