Let's Talk: Physio

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Hi I am Liz, Physiotherapist for Xavier.

Now, many people hear physiotherapy and they think of working with high profile sports players and looking after their injuries to get them back on the field and playing, or helping someone after they have injured their back get back to work, but it’s a much bigger world than that.

I have worked across many settings – including adults who have injured their backs or shoulders at work, suffer from chronic migraines, as well as physiotherapy for children such as helping get kids back on court for basketball and netball or new born babies with heads tilted to the side or little flat spots. I have worked in Private Practise clinics, hydrotherapy pools, gyms and at sporting fields as well as education community disability settings.

I have always had a passion to help everyone achieve their goals, enjoy life to the fullest and be happy and pain free, but in particular the ones that think their goals are out of reach. Like the child with Cerebral Palsy who would love to be able to play soccer with his friends but has to sit in class, or the young child who is a little behind her peers be able to keep up on the playground at lunch time. Or the little boy whose family wants him to sit at the Christmas tree for a family photo.

As a physiotherapist, I am able to work with people from all ages – from newborn to 90s and hopefully beyond. Physiotherapy requires a four year university degree that exposes you to all aspects of physiotherapy and training to work in hospitals after people have heart surgery or joint replacements, with elderly after strokes or with Parkinson’s Disease, with people with life-long conditions such as cystic fibrosis and brain injuries. My passion however, lies in neurological, chromosomal and complex disabilities and helping every person blossom into their fullest self. I have done extensive additional training in hydrotherapy, toe walking, walking and gait retraining with neurological conditions, tone management, compression garments and splinting. I have been trained in intensive therapies for early intervention approaches based on a neurodevelopmental model, CME Cuevas-Medek Exercise and so much more! I am also qualified to complete HINE and Prechtl’s General Movement assessment for the early detection of cerebral palsy and other neurological conditions as well as sensory processing disorders.

So I guess you can see that my days at Xavier are quite varied and there is never a dull moment! Depending on the day I may start in the office or sometimes in the pool, and no the pool isn’t just a relaxing float and splash around there is work involved too! I help with equipment such as wheelchairs, walkers, standing frames and orthotics – so that’s trials, phone calls and applications. Then there’s work with some kids at home whether its range of motion stretching or working on their rolling and being able to sit up all by themselves. I also see children in our clinic and office where we work on skills and often in a team setting with the speech therapist or occupational therapist, so really no two days are the same!

Some people think my job is hard and I often get comments of how do you do it, and sure, high needs isn’t exactly easy and it certainly isn’t for the families, but I do enjoy it. Although complex situations, they allow for so many different avenues of brainstorming and trialling therapy approaches to achieve a child’s goals – and the lightbulb moment when they achieve it and the smiles and excitement on everyone’s faces. That’s what I love coming to work for and seeing every day – the happiness and excitement of a child enjoying themselves, or feeling successful and achieving new feats every session!