Fall 2016 Interprofessional Experiential Learning Class

From left to right: Madalynn Wendland (DPT course instructor), Jennifer MacPherson (PT), Emily Ladich (SLP), Catherine Holt (PT), Danielle Driscoll (SLP), Lee Ann Magiera (PT), Chelsea Girgash (SLP), Brigette Culliver (SLP course instructor)

"This semester’s experiences can be summarized in three words: enlightening, encouraging and informative. It has taken my mind out of the “physical therapy tunnel,” allowed me to be aware of other professions’ perspectives, and encouraged my endeavor to be a well-rounded physical therapist. It was an incredible semester that offered a unique experience that I will appreciate as I develop into a practicing PT." 
-Lee Ann Magiera, DPT Class of 2018

"Personally, SFT has been a very rewarding and eye opening experience. I have never had the opportunity to work directly with children and families with physical impairments. It was such an awesome experience to see the reactions of parents as their children were given a sense of independence and freedom. I was in awe at how generally happy these parents were, given their situation and how overjoyed they were in the simple things. This experience has opened my eyes and made me realize how people take the simple things such as crawling for granted.
Professionally, this experience has provided me with a greater understanding of how to work with children with mobility impairments in an interprofessional setting. Even though we were not providing therapy during SFT, this has set the stage for what it would be like to work with an interprofessional team and look at the whole child." 
-Chelsea Girgash, SLP Class of 2017

"The most impactful, yet challenging component to this class for me was participating in hands on activities with children in the harness. At first, I found it difficult to have a “hands-off” approach and let the child explore the environment in their own way. By the end of the semester however, I was able to provide weight bearing activities and minimize my manual cueing. Having now been exposed to the GoBabyGo project, I am constantly thinking about ways new environments I experience can be modified. By further researching this project, I have learned so much about the importance of mobility on socialization and independence, motivating me further to become a pediatric PT."
-Jennifer MacPherson, DPT Class of 2017

"The opportunity to be involved in this interdisciplinary class has been such a valuable and beneficial experience. I gained so much insight on working with others and co-treating, as well as more comprehensive understanding on how to work with children with mobility impairments. The purpose of SFT is to allow children with mobility impairments to explore their environment independently rather than to provide therapy, which is something I struggled to accept when we first started. Now, I am able to observe the child’s strengths and weakness without jumping in to help, which is something I’ve been able to carry over into my professional life. 
Moreover, this experience has solidified the belief that the benefits of interdisciplinary treatment are vast and endless. Throughout this experience, I’ve witnessed first-hand how co-treatment provides optimal intervention for the child as a whole. Additionally, it creates a more natural, realistic environment; hence facilitating generalization of skills for functional use. Working with PT students this semester helped me understand the importance of communicating and working alongside different disciplines."
-Danielle Driscoll, SLP Class of 2017

"This semester I had my first experiences working hands on with children with mobility impairments and their families, and also my first experience thinking about physical therapy in conjunction with an interdisciplinary team. Especially at the beginning of the semester, I felt unsure and like I should know more in order to be effective in creating the best environment for the kids and to work well in the team. As the semester went on, I felt more and more comfortable and was able to acknowledge what I did and did not know. The experience was very valuable in showing me how much I still have to learn, but also showing me that I’ve learned more over the past 3 semesters than I realize. The experience also taught me a lot about what speech and language pathologists do, and what working in an interdisciplinary team entails."
-Catherine Holt, DPT Class of 2018

"SFT has opened a new world of professional integration for me. In my personal life, I am so much more aware of children with mobility impairments and the difficulty that they may have in relation to communication based on the mobility impairments. Professionally, I have greater understanding of the importance of working in interdisciplinary teams with mobility impairments. These children need more emphasis on working together when it comes to diagnosing and treating various weaknesses in communication and mobility. I look forward to learning more about this population and becoming more involved with physical therapists as a team for treatment."
-Emily Ladich, SLP Class of 2017

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