Child Life and Music Therapy at The Children's Hospital at Westmead

Contact details

Enquiries: (02) 9845 3369


The Child Life and Music Therapy Department aims to minimise the stress and anxiety that children and their families may experience through their healthcare journey.

Child Life and Music Therapists help children and young people to develop resilience and positive self esteem by addressing their developmental, social and emotional needs.

The team creates positive experiences in the healthcare environment, through the use of play, music, education and self-expression activities.

Child Life and Music Therapist's work collaboratively with other disciplines to achieve mutual goals.

What is Child Life Therapy?

Child Life Therapy is an Allied Health profession which focuses on supporting, educating and empowering children and young people through their healthcare journey.

Our services- how we can help

Procedure education

Procedure education if the child-friendly explanation of any medical procedure a child may experience throughout their health journey. 
The Child Life Therapist will use developmentally appropriate language and resources such as toys, books and pictures to ensure the child, young person and family are well prepared before, during and after procedures such as MRI's or bloods tests.

Re-focusing strategies

Distraction and individualised re-focusing strategies involve the use of various resources and techniques including books, iPads, relaxation and imagery to provide a strong positive focus during medical procedures.
This may reduce anxiety and provide choice and control for a child during a procedure.

Medical play

Medical play gives children and their families the opportunity to explore, familiarise and gain an understanding of medical equipment. It may include doctor dress ups, doll making, medical equipment collage and syringe paintings.

Therapeutic and developmental play

Children in hospital may not express their feelings as easily as they may at home or in a familiar environment.
Therapeutic and expressive activities allow children to:

  • Be creative and express their feelings
  • Provide choice, build self esteem and resilience
  • Work towards developmental milestones

What is Music Therapy?


Child Life Therapy

Inpatient referrals are accepted from staff within the Hospital.

Outpatient referrals are accepted from specialists associated with the Hospital. Appointments will be arranged according to the needs of the child and current waiting lists. 

Music Therapy

Inpatient referrals are accepted from staff within the Hospital according to the needs of the child and areas currently serviced.

Take a look at our resources

Information brochures

Education books

Related websites

Students and volunteers


The Child Life Therapy Department currently accepts university students for their placement. Students must be studying degrees in Early Childhood or Primary Education. Please contact the student coordinator for further details of the application process.

Music Therapy provides clinical training placements to students from accredited Australian Music Therapy courses. Please contact your student placement coordinator for further details of the application process.


Volunteers work specifically in the Child Life and Music Therapy department. These volunteers support staff in the preparation and cleaning of resources.  Volunteers may work on the wards under the supervision and guidance of therapists.

For more information on becoming a volunteer at The Children's Hospital at Westmead, visit  Volunteer at The Children's Hospital at Westmead. 

Meet the team

Child Life Therapists 

  • Cathy Quinn - Head of Department (Wed Thurs, Fri)
  • Sarah Scott - Head of Department (Mon and Tues)
  • Vanessa Starr - Deputy Head of Department (Leave)
  • Lisa Carnovale (Relieving Deputy Head of Department)
  • Mandy Williams
  • Christina Howe
  • Sharon White
  • Teneile Gray
  • Wendy Le
  • Jodie Cannell
  • Karen Weir
  • Georgia O'Callaghan
  • Tracy Bush
  • Amy Cheung

Child Life Therapy Assistants

  • Amy Wright
  • Angelica Torrijos
  • Rachael Calverley
  • Anna Ignatovich

Music Therapists

  • Roxanne McLeod
  • Michelle Howe
  • Miriam Cromie (Leave)