Students are exposed to a lot of different experiences early on in life. When you work with children during therapy sessions, you never know if you may perk their interest in a future career. It is extremely important to remember this when you are working each individual student. While you are focusing on their goals and skills, you also form a bond with them. If this becomes strong enough over time, a mentoring relationship may form with older students who are interested in physiology.
Now imagine the following: While running around the bases playing kickball in gym, a young child falls and breaks their leg. This event has the ability to change their life forever. The pain of the break, the rehabilitation, the physical therapy, and change in their active life could have a negative or positive impact. Much of this depends on the treatment plan and how the family shares the information from doctors with the school to continue work during adaptive gym. When adaptive physical education is available, school remains a safe space where kids are able to continue to participate in ways which are safe.
Physical therapists may be needed after school or during the academic day to work with this child. The time interacting and helping to get strength back may move them to want to work with children and to go into physical therapy. As time goes on, they may start to ask questions about what colleges you went to and what type of career paths are possible. Share information and give them ways to learn more about how you started your path. On the flip side, if this child has a negative experience, he/she may fear medical professionals and physical therapists in the future. It may mean noncompliance with doctor rules and lead to further injury.
If you are working on your physical therapy degree, think about the different venues where you could use your degree. Do you like to work with children? Would you like to help them overcome an injury or work on strengthening their gross motor skills to make them more independent? Think about the different types of children who you may work with and how you could positively alter their life. Be sure to take the time to shadow in schools to see what physical therapists are responsible for these days. At the end of the day, there is a fun question to ask yourself: Why did you choose to go into physical therapy? We encourage you to respond in the comments section below!