I am a Pediatric Physical Therapist. This is the Personal Side of My Job.

March is Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month. Today, a Pediatric Physical Therapist shares the personal side of her profession :: the relationships she has with the incredible human beings she works with daily. 

I am a pediatric physical therapist. I serve children with disabilities and have fallen totally and helplessly in love with each one of them. Most of the world fails to realize just how amazing these children are. Frankly, I did too until I began to spend time with them regularly. It’s like trying to understand how deep the ocean is or grasp the vastness of our universe. IT’S. JUST. NOT. POSSIBLE. As a mom, you may be thinking, “No I do get it. These children are absolutely incredible.” And to that I say, yes, they are, but words do not do justice in describing these children who we get the honor of celebrating this whole month. And though words fall flat…let me try to explain the unique and beautiful humans that these children are by introducing you to some of the kids that I see on a daily basis.

Grayson

I am a Pediatric Physical Therapist. This is the Personal Side of My Job | Houston Moms Blog

Grayson is a beautiful 7 year old boy who is diagnosed with Leigh Syndrome, a form of Mitochondrial Disease. His mom lovingly refers to him as a “Mito Kid”, meaning he has trouble with his mitochondria {the power house of the cell}. But my goal is not to tell you about his diagnosis, but to tell you about him.

Grayson LOVES Veggie Tales music, specifically every silly song that Larry has ever sung. I now proudly know and sing all of these songs by heart and smile every time because they remind me of sweet Grayson. Grayson is non-verbal, but has a way of looking at me that says that he loves and accepts me. 

Grayson is one of my most patient children. He will tell me if we are doing an activity he is not particularly found of by lightly swatting at me, but it is nothing short of a love tap and it quickly goes away if I acknowledge his feelings. He just wants to be heard, and then he wants to work. And man, this kid works SO HARD! Trust me, you should see him do pull ups from laying down to sitting. He is so focused and so tired when we are done, but he will do it almost five times in a row, which is a lot for him. Oh, I love this big blue-eyed boy!

Kylie

I am a Pediatric Physical Therapist. This is the Personal Side of My Job | Houston Moms Blog

Kylie, is a sassy, independent 7 year old who knows what it is like to live life without a physical disability. Kylie was born healthy, but contracted viral encephalitis shortly after her first birthday. What she lacks in verbal communication she completely makes up for in nonverbal communication. She gives side eye like no one I have ever seen- at least to me because I talk a lot and make bad jokes…apparently.

Kylie never misses a chance to tell people that she loves them. Whether its with her Tobi device {a tablet she uses to talk with through eye gaze technology}, or through her non-verbal gestures and facial expressions, Kylie has said “I love you” more times than most people who do talk. She appreciates company and conversation. Kylie will be the first to call me out when I am talk or exaggerate too much, but she will also be the first person to smile at my jokes or invite me to her birthday party. This girl is worth her weight in gold, and I wish I could spend every moment of every day with her. 

Jonathan

I am a Pediatric Physical Therapist. This is the Personal Side of My Job | Houston Moms Blog

Jonathan is 17 years old, diagnosed with cerebral palsy and the happiest teenage boy on the planet. He absolutely loves music, but only a very specific portion of every song. He flirts with all the girls at school by playing with their hair, and they all think he’s just being cute, but trust me, he knows he’s flirting. While he may not have noticed that I was pregnant until it was time for me to pop, he definitely notices the ladies and will turn on the charm.

Jonathan has nurses who work with him daily and he loves to mess with them. You can almost equate him to Jim from the office, because he loves to mess with people {currently his favorite thing to do is tell you to go to sleep} and thinks he is just so funny! Despite all his obstacles, Jonathan is going to graduate high school this year! He has such drive and expects more of himself than anyone else. I truly believe this kid would get a job if he was able to. He spends every session trying to walk, or sit independently, and while he gives me a hard time, its always because he is in a playful, teasing mood. This kid doesn’t have a judgmental bone in his body. He is awesome, and if you ever run into him out and about, please go shake his hand and tell him how awesome he is, because I guarantee you he doesn’t realize it.

These Children Are Worth Fighting For

Grayson, Kylie, and Jonathan are just three of the children I work with, and I can honestly say that each kid I see  is amazing in his or her own unique way. Equally amazing are these children’s parents, siblings, and caregivers. Parents of disabled children face tough battles while loving these unique, beautiful children and doing everything they can to enhance their lives. These parents will say that raising their children is tough, but that they wouldn’t change a thing because their children are perfect. Do they long to see their children with disabilities run, yearn to hear their sweet voices, and cry sometimes over the obstacles their children face? I’m sure they do. But that doesn’t stop them…ever.

If you see a parent out in public with their unique and amazing child with disabilities, go shake their hand and tell them that they are fantastic human beings, and the world could use more people just like them.


About Heather W. 

Heather W. is a Pediatric Physical Therapist and mom of two who works in the Katy area and sees children with disabilities at their homes.

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