Johanna’s Story

img_2840-sm.jpgQ: How did you decide on a career as a physical therapist?

I grew up in East Africa, and had no exposure to the physical therapy field until I came to the U.S. at age 17.  I had always had an interest in horses, though, so my parents got me connected with CTC’s hippotherapy program led by CTC co-founder Sue Hudson. I became a horse leader for her.

Later, I went on to get an undergraduate degree in international studies and public health. I didn’t really have a clue what I wanted to do for a career, so I started thinking about what I really enjoyed doing. It brought me back to Sue and that thing she was doing with the horses, so I decided to come back and check it out. I shadowed Sue at CTC back in 2011, really liked what I saw, and decided to apply for PT school at the University of Washington. I did my final clinical internship at CTC and when a job opening appeared, I applied and was accepted.

Q: What do you love most about your job and working with kids?

I like how relevant the therapy is to their daily lives. CTC has always taken a really practical approach to therapy that aligns with what’s relevant and meaningful to the families we’re working with. We are encouraged to treat the whole individual and the whole family. We address quality of life instead of just working to try to fix something on paper.  We are allowed to think creatively about how we work, and how we approach things with different people.

As a physical therapist, I get to help kids learn to love movement – whether it’s a three-year old learning to swing or a middle school child who has a hard time with PE or sports at school and learns to have fun being active with peers and successful with exercise in our Fitness Center. This feels especially important these days as we see more and more kids that are really sedentary and only enjoy games that involve an iPad or video games.

Q: What do you like most about CTC?  

CTC prioritizes quality of life for kids and for me as an employee. My needs are respected. Our families are respected. How I’m doing as a person is important. Our foundations are instilled in everyone who works here. Family is at the forefront of everything we do. We serve all families, not just the ones with the right insurance coverage. We serve the families that need access to care the most. CTC is committed to working where the need is, and we are committed to equitable services.

Q: Do you have a favorite memory of a child who reached a milestone?   

There was a little guy with high-level spina bifida. His muscles from the waist down just don’t work and for him, being off the ground on a swing was scary. By the time our sessions together were coming to an end, he was swinging by himself. I remember the first day he did it. He had just gotten a new baby sister and I think he was showing off for her. He was so proud of himself. It was so great to be a part of taking that fear away for him.

Learn more about some of CTC’s physical therapists! Read Betty’s and Alison’s stories.

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