Spotlight on Yooralla’s Physiotherapists – bringing smiles to young faces! A World Physiotherapy Day special
DATE: 9 September 2021
With World physio day approaching on 8 September, we caught up with two of Yooralla’s passionate paediatric physiotherapists to understand more about how they support Yooralla’s youngest customers to achieve their goals and why they love their jobs (hint: huge kiddie smiles and tears of joy from the parents!) Here is the first of our physiotherapist profiles.
Claire Georgiadis works as a physiotherapist key worker with Yooralla. In this role she works as the primary therapist and acts as a conduit between the family and other allied health services such as speech and occupational therapists, mostly with children under five with conditions that affect them physically. Claire is also the dedicated physiotherapist for Yooralla’s ‘On The Move’ on time powered mobility program one day a week.
Claire wanted to be a physiotherapist since she was nine years old – after watching a TV program called ‘Children’s Ward’ in her native England. “I watched it and I wanted to be a physio. That never changed then I went to university and achieved my degree. On my first paediatric rotation in a hospital back in the UK, my manager continued to inspire me; and seeing how I worked with the children she called me her ‘bouncing paediatric Physio’. I’ve still got a card from Thomas, the first child I ever treated,” she said.
Claire describes her role as “supporting customers to be the best they can be and achieve their goals. I love being able to work with children and their families to be the best of what they want to be. A lot of the job is problem-solving different approaches and strategies,” she said.
Claire says her role is diverse and that she doesn’t “have a day that is ever the same. I don’t have a child that is ever the same. I like the challenge of working in disability. I know that there are about 10 different ways for a person to achieve what they want to do – it’s not about me, it’s about what they think they can do, and me empowering them saying ‘try this way and use this, this is how you can achieve this,” Claire said.
Claire finds her role rewarding because she gets “to see the benefit of what I do from the smile on the children’s faces to the tears of joy in their family’s eye, yes and sometimes mine! It’s not always this way. The children and the families I support are realising a lot of what they can and can’t do, and I love to support the family through all of that and to come out the other end.”
Claire has many highlights from her time working as a physiotherapist at Yooralla, having worked with us since 2012, during which time she’s gone from being single, to married, to having children - and was supported by Yooralla to return to work.
It’s obvious that Claire is passionate about seeing the results of her work through the achievements of the children she works with. “Any smile on a child’s face when they achieve something…I get that every time I take a Wizzybug out to a child and they move themselves for the first time, and the sheer joy from their parents…And that happens at nearly every assessment. There was a boy in country Victoria once who sat in the driveway waiting for me to arrive with a Wizzybug and wanted to help me to get it out of the car!”
Claire is currently working with a four-year-old boy who wants to ride a bike – “that’s his goal (he’s watched the Olympics) and my job is to help him to do that. We’ll do assessments – [to work out] what can his body do. My role will be problem solving what equipment will help him achieve his goals, and then I’ll look into different types of bikes. I’ll pick the top three bikes and then set up some trials and will advise what is the best for him and then write a recommendation”. Once the boy’s bike riding goal is achieved, Claire will work with him to set him up to achieve another goal – perhaps he’d like to do a bike program and make some friends? Whatever he’d like to achieve, Claire and her team of allied health therapists will be there to support him.
Find out more about Yooralla’s early intervention supports for children.