Wednesday, October 23, 2013

A PT's Perspective: Kendra Ped PT

It's week four of PT Month and the celebration continues! Please join me in welcoming Kendra Gagnon!
Kendra is a pediatric physical therapist and Clinical Assistant Professor in the Physical Therapy Department at the University of Kansas Medical Center. She has worked in NICU, school-based, and early intervention settings. She is the mother of 3 young boys who are a constant reminder that child development is really messy, completely individual, and absolutely amazing. Kendra believes the role of the physical therapist is to help children and families participate more fully in daily life, and she is passionate about using social media to amplify positive health care messages. She blogs about her experiences as a pediatric PT, educator, social media junkie, and mother at

My life as a physical therapist in five words:

Rewarding, busy, flexible, creative, FUN

Four qualities every pediatric PT should have:

Sense of humor

Three resources I can’t live without:

  1. Twitter – I have found an amazing network of health care professionals on Twitter. I have so many great follows that keep me up-to-date on the latest pediatric health research and trends. I learn something new on Twitter every single day.
  2. My iPad – I use my iPad to access my calendar, exchange iMessages, send and receive email, prepare presentations and documents for class, read eBooks, access social media, download apps for practice, and participate in video conferences using FaceTime or Google+. It is truly my hub.
  3. My car – My car has been my second office my entire career – from going on home visits, traveling between schools and childcare centers, and commuting to and from the University. I don’t need anything fancy, just something that gets good gas mileage and has a radio that I can tune into NPR and a decent alternative music station! My current ride is a 2006 Prius with a LOT of miles!

Two words (or more!) of advice for parents to develop a working relationship with their child’s PT: 

Ask & share. As you develop a relationship with your physical therapist, it is critical that you share information about your child and your family’s values and routines. This will allow your therapist to individualize therapy to your child and provide services that will enhance your family’s daily life. It is also so important that you understand what your PT is doing and why. Asking lots of questions will give you a better understanding of what PT is all about and will help you carry activities over into your daily life.

A word of advice for the parents of a child who recently started receiving PT:

Get involved! You are your child’s first and best teacher, and therapy is your time to learn how you can support your child’s development. What you do with your child between visits matters just as much, if not more, than what happens during therapy visits. Be part of the plan and the program!

One dream for the field of physical therapy: 

I would love to see all physical therapists move toward a more a more “strengths-based” approach to physical therapy. Imagine the impact we could have if we didn’t see people as a list of problems to fix, but full of strengths to build upon!

What I do to rest and relax (or in OT terms, how I maintain occupational balance): 

I am a wine lover and a bit of a foodie. I enjoy trying new foods and restaurants and traveling with my husband. In the summer, our family loves to go to baseball games (go Royals!), head to the pool, or hit the golf course. In my opinion, there is no place more relaxing than the beach, and we try to take a trip to the coast every year. I love to read, blog, Tweet, post, and pin. And I always love a good walk or bike ride with my family! I’m not a big TV-watcher, but I can’t get enough of Breaking Bad and The Walking Dead!

Life as the child of a PT - balance work is built into your routines!

Kendra, thanks so much for stopping by to share your perspective! Readers, be sure to check out Kendra's blog for great information on child development, like this great post on walking. You can also check out Kendra's physical therapy board on Pinterest and follow her on Twitter @KendraPedPT.

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