What makes our school special?

What makes our school special?

I strongly suggest our faculty! Our special education teachers, speech therapists, physical therapists, occupational therapists, behavior specialists and many others are truly the heartbeat of the Elizabeth Lee Black School.

As October is Physical Therapy Month, I’d like to focus on our two physical therapists, Christina Gross, P.T. and Barbara Gleason, P.T. They are amazing women!

I remember when one of our students walked across the stage at graduation…and when he came to us he could not walk! There were tears in his parents’ eyes and my own. Our physical therapists, school team and his parents made all of the difference!

I asked the therapists a few questions and would like to share their responses with you.

Chris Gross, P.T. (left) has been with BNI for seven years, and Barb Gleason, P.T. (right) has been with BNI for two years. Photo was taken before the COVID-19 pandemic.

Question: How is being a physical therapist at our school the same or different from your previous work?

Barb: There is a feeling in this environment that is more caring both for students and staff. There is a sense of family which you don’t find in many settings.

Chris: I agree with Barb. There is great support from our supervisor which is especially helpful as she has her clinical expertise as an occupational therapist.

The ability to work 1:1 is important. There is an emphasis on quality care not productivity. Certainly, school-based therapy is very different from a clinical setting.

Barb: In other environments, you only have a short-term involvement with the patient, whereas in the school, you get to know the children and families, establish relationships. Progress may be slower, but it is amazing the progress the children make. Staff are willing to listen and implement programs.

Question: What is the greatest challenging you are experiencing in this world of COVID -19?

Chris: This profession is not made for remote learning. Seeing the children and parents on the screen and providing guidance is not what PT is.

Barb: The profession is based on movement. You need enough room to do various activities and many homes don’t have that room available. It can be a challenge, a bumpy road to navigate.

The ladies agreed that a positive outcome is that there is more interaction with parents. You may receive additional information that you did not know or would not have received except with the direct contact with the parent(s). You certainly get to know the parents much better.

Thank you, Chris Gross and Barb Gleason, for your commitment to our children, our families and our staff! You are very special!

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