Course Description

This course focuses on the physical, emotional, cognitive, social, and sexual development occurring during adolescence. Research and theoretical perspectives assist students’ understanding of contemporary issues and themes central to adolescent development. Topics include but are not limited to understanding identity, puberty, play, relationships, the role of social media, mental health, school, work, culture, and how each of these areas is affected by overall health and hospitalization.

Course Outline

Upon completion of this course, students will master the physical, cognitive, social, and emotional development of adolescents and will examine the effect of play, attachment, environment, hospitalization, illness, and trauma have on a child during this stage of development. Students will gain a strong understanding of the interplay of adolescent identity and the social, cultural, and environmental aspects that adolescents are exposed to and interact with. Students will be asked to draw on their own observations of adolescents and apply this to the theories and topics discussed throughout the course. The role of the child life specialist in interacting with adolescents in a medical and hospital setting will be discussed throughout the course.

Learner Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

  • Demonstrate knowledge of adolescent development theory as it applies to the field of child life
  • Apply knowledge of adolescent childhood development to case studies, observations, and vignettes
  • Analyze the important role of play and its relationship to adolescent development
  • Understand adolescence in relation to identity and culture
  • Interpret the influence culture, biology, environment, attachment, and parenting have on adolescent development
  • Understand the effect of trauma, hospitalization, and illness have on adolescence and development
  • Demonstrate knowledge of current research findings as they apply to child development.






Certification Disclosure: Completion of the UCSB PaCE Child Life certificate program does not result in Certified Child Life Specialist (CCLS). Individuals seeking certification must meet specific academic and clinical experience requirements in addition to passing the Child Life Professional Certification Exam. While courses in this certificate program count toward the educational requirements for becoming eligible to take the examination, completion of this certificate program will not, in itself, result in Child Life certification. For more information about certification visit https://www.childlife.org/certification.

Applies Towards the Following Certificates

Classes are offered according to the schedule on the respective Certificate or Program Page. Please click on the Request Information below to be promptly notified when enrollment opens.