It has been my privilege to work with children and their families for over 20 years as a pediatric physical therapist. My clinical experiences are rich and diverse as I have served children in many diverse settings including hospital, outpatient clinics, and home health. I have witnessed dramatic changes in health care. In addition, I have gained insights on the many challenges experienced by children and families navigating medical and developmental diagnoses. A passion for pediatric physical therapy and these new perspectives fueled my desire to explore innovative strategies to improve the lives of children. I was not only interested in how to serve children but where we serve them. I had worked with children in health care settings but what about educational settings? These questions led to me to pursue a doctorate in exceptional education. I hoped that the skills gained would help me bridge the medical and educational communities to improve the lives of children.
My journey in exploring new approaches led me to incredibly talented faculty with a shared passion. Dr. Nickels is one such faculty member. During our very first conversation, I was so impressed and inspired by her research on evidence-based education for children t disease tailored to their specific disease or condition. I also learned about PedsAcademy and I knew that I wanted to be involved in this very special initiative. PedsAcademy allows me to use both my medical and educational backgrounds to serve children and families in a unique way. I am collaborating with amazing and diverse faculty working towards a common goal of providing an extraordinary educational experience for children in the hospital. As pediatric therapist, I can identify potential challenges to learning and develop appropriate accommodations. In addition, I have the pleasure of teaching elementary education interns about the hospital setting and the different diagnoses that they may encounter. I continue to be so impressed with the students’ ability to create and teach lessons that allow a child in the hospital to engage in learning that is fun! Children are motivated and excited to learn despite the medical challenges they may face.
UCF PedsAcademy at Nemours is improving the lives of children. My time spent at PedsAcademy is rewarding beyond measure.