“In a nursing home, you can improve someone’s function pretty significantly, but at Matheny, with the kids, there is just so much more energy,” Leach says. “I started to realize that what I do can really help them forever.”
Leach, who was voted the 2011 Related Service Provider of the Year by her peers at The Matheny School, also knows it can require creativity to incorporate PT into classroom settings. One example involved a lesson about where different articles of clothing belong on the human body. “The teacher had a big cutout of a person, and the students were working on where the shirt goes, where the shoes go, things like that,” she says. “They had Velcro clothing and shoes. So, when it was my student’s turn, I helped her walk up to the big cutout and put the shoes on. It was the perfect activity.”
Leach, shown here helping 8-year-old student Niara Holmes, understands that “I’m helping them do something they might not otherwise get the opportunity to do—like sitting up or standing up by themselves. I can look back and say, ‘Wow, they’re doing this much better’—even if it may seem to be a very small thing.”
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