Pediatric Therapeutic Services

The Impact of PTS: Hear From Physical Therapist Victoria Wrightson

Are you looking to grow your impact as a school-based physical therapist? If so, Victoria Wrightson’s story will be valuable to hear. As a school-based therapist herself, Victoria has insight to share, both in the general field and in working specifically alongside PTS to serve students.

For Victoria, School-Based Therapy Is a Calling

One of the most interesting parts of Victoria’s journey is that she wasn’t initially planning on taking her career to the school-based therapy field! Interesting, but maybe not unique. Like many other graduating physical therapists—possibly including you—her original plan was to go the traditional hospital and outpatient therapy route. But then, PTS called on the same day she sat for her Boards exam. That was when she realized she’d found the field where she was best equipped to make a difference.

What’s the best part of working with kids?

The answer is simple: variety. No two days are the same when you’re working with children of any age. Victoria moves from student to student and building to building, designing interventions that will help students reach individual goals—and that’s just how she likes it. Of course, there’s also the variety of age groups to contend with. Victoria has had the opportunity to work with kids ages 3–21, the full spectrum from toddlers to budding adults. Next year, she’s picking up a high school multiple disabilities classroom, challenging her with a new kind of diversity.

The success stories

Without a doubt, the success stories are what make working with kids worth it. Victoria has found that to be true. Indeed, she has many such stories to tell:
  • The high-school student who learned how to use her custom power wheelchair to get around school (after previously being unable to use it without crashing).
  • The kindergartener with blindness and cerebral palsy who learned how to walk up and down stairs and throughout school with her cane.
  • The high-school student with cerebral palsy who was in a wheelchair but learned to participate in more activities from her walker (most memorably, walking at graduation!).
They all have a common thread: determined students who overcame physical limitations to assert their independence, gain control of their lives, and grow their confidence.

How COVID-19 changed school-based therapy

One of the biggest challenges Victoria has seen in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic is a learned helplessness among students. She finds that many students have more needs than before—they’ve gotten used to parents doing more for them at home.

This could be something as simple as putting on a jacket. In the pre-pandemic world, students would have learned how to do this important skill themselves. In a learn-from-home environment, however, the parents have been there to do it for them, and they haven’t learned a skill they otherwise would have.

Of course, there have been some positive effects of learning from home as well. Victoria appreciated the chance to work more closely with students’ parents than ever before.

Freedom, autonomy, and guidance when needed

Working in a school environment, Victoria was grateful for having the freedom and autonomy to design her day the way she liked—a key benefit, in her mind, to working alongside PTS. Of course, it wasn’t all hands-off. When she did need support, PTS was there to offer the resources she needed.

A Clinical Director who Truly Listens

Victoria has an excellent relationship with her school’s clinical director, Jennifer Cancro, and feels comfortable giving honest feedback about what works and what doesn’t. PTS Co-Founder Pam Hackett has lots of experience as well. In fact, Pam has come to two of Victoria’s schools to physically see what she’s doing and provide valuable suggestions. Victoria was also grateful to be able to be honest about the role she wanted—to be able to say, “This isn’t the right fit for me, is there another opportunity out there?” Her concerns have always been received and taken seriously, and PTS has always been flexible.

“Get Comfortable With Chaos”: Advice for Aspiring PTs

“Get comfortable with chaos,” Victoria says. To succeed as a school-based physical therapist, you need to be adaptable to change. You may need to modify something every day, and every day might bring something unexpected. It’s wise advice in any line of work, and especially relevant in the dynamic and fast-paced world of school-based PT.

If you want to move forward in your career and help more students more effectively along the way, contact PTS to learn more about how you can make a greater impact with Victoria and the rest of the team. Start by searching through our current openings today!

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