I took a deep breath before I walked into my first patient’s home.  

What I had learned prior to meeting this patient was that the patient’s parents did not like their first physical therapist because they felt that the therapist did not understand what their goals were for their child and they felt that they did not have a good rapport with their child.  

They also told my agency that they wanted a physical therapist that was more experienced.  

Though I had been a physical therapist for over a year, I had not treated pediatric patients since my clinical internships as a student.  
 

Needless to say, I was extremely nervous about meeting this family because I did not want to disappoint them.  

During our first visit, my objectives were simple. 

First, I wanted to know what their goals were, and I wanted to address them and discuss how I would incorporate them into my treatment plan.  

Second, I wanted to make sure their child had the most fun and positive physical therapy session that they had ever experienced.  
 

So how did I do this?

I had to split my attention between my patient and their parents during this first therapy session.  

I had to make sure to talk to the parents while at the same time evaluate their seven month old child in a fun and engaging way that showed the parents that 1. I knew what I was doing, and 2. I was good at what I was doing.  

physical therapy child disability

What I felt made this a very successful session was that I let my patient’s parents talk to me as much as they wanted to and ask as many questions as they wanted to.
 

What I came to understand during this first treatment session, was that I was not the only one nervous about this first meeting.  

Like me, these parents did not want to be disappointed in another therapist since that would mean more time and stress looking for a new clinician.  

I also learned that I was just one therapist in a team of clinicians responsible for helping this child grow, learn, and move.  

I came to understand that my patient’s parents were making sure they found the best team that could help their child, and I was honored to be able to be a part of this hardworking team.  
 

So how did how did my first therapy session end?  

I am happy to say that I had a very successful first therapy session with this patient.  

I continued to treat them until they were three years old, when they then transitioned to participate in school-based physical therapy sessions.  

Five years later, I am grateful for the continued friendship that I have with this family, and will never forget them for giving me the opportunity to help their child.

 

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