My name is Tracy Jungwirth and I am the physical therapist for Easterseals and their Early Intervention program. I started with Easterseals as a new graduate, fresh out of physical therapy school in 2014. I learned SO much from the great team of teachers and therapists at Easterseals in the first year and even more from the kids themselves. The children in the early intervention program taught me early on to never underestimate them and to celebrate every inch stone and milestone.
In 2015, my husband and I moved to Seattle, Washington for his medical residency. I also worked in early intervention in Washington and continued to grow as a therapist and learn from so many talented and experienced physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech language pathologists, and teachers. We missed Columbus so much and were thrilled to return to the Buckeye state in 2018 and I returned to Easterseals in 2019.
I am lucky enough to say that I truly love my job and having the opportunity to work with the kids in the early intervention program. As a physical therapist, I work with children to help them meet their potential and work with families to help their children meet their goals. I work with children to help them get stronger and meet milestones such as sitting, crawling, walking, and jumping. Just since the start of the school year I have seen such amazing growth in our children. I set one child up with a walker the first week of school, and she has taken off so quickly. It is a joy to watch her explore the classroom and playground with her peers for the first time! I have another child who is turning 3 soon who is making so much progress, and her mom said this week that she truly believes her daughter is doing so well because they started therapy and early intervention at a young age.
My days vary so much working with toddlers but in a typical day I help kids get off the bus, working on walking down the stairs, or help them walk from their parents’ car to the classroom. In the classroom, we start our day by washing hands and many children are working on stepping up and down the step stool to wash their hands. I will work with kids while they are playing, possibly working on sitting balance, or setting up an obstacle course in the classroom to challenge their balance. All the classes will go either outside to our wonderful playground or inside to our gross motor space. I will work with children on their goals such as walking up and down stairs or riding a tricycle while they are playing. Being a physical therapist working with children, part of the fun and the challenge is making the activities fun and exciting for the child, so they don’t even realize they are working on something hard. Unlike working with adults, you can’t just show them an exercise and have them do 10 reps of it! So, we play lots of fun games and set up different activities to keep therapy fun and engaging!
I absolutely love working with the ages of birth to three-year-old population and seeing how much they grow and change in those first 3 years. It is so much fun to see kids who start in our program when they are 1 and see them start walking and talking and learning about their world through our program. It is always hard to say goodbye when the children turn 3 and transition out of our program but it is a joy to reflect with parents about how far they have come in their own journey with Easterseals!