We had the pleasure of attending a site visit at the Western Pennsylvania School for Blind Children last week. We had the opportunity to work in small groups with a therapist and a child to perform an evaluation, and we'll return this week to follow through with our intervention. Talk about a learning experience! This was the first time in the pediatric curriculum that we actually performed an examination and evaluation of a child, and there's probably not much that could have prepared me for it.
Pediatric evaluations are a completely different beast. I felt like I came to the table with an assortment of clinical skills, but not one of them was useful. I hadn't considered how to adapt them to a patient who was non-verbal, and I've never had to think about creative and exciting ways to perform a functional evaluation. I unfortunately hadn't considered any of this before I sat down with the patient. Even the smallest assessment items required an entirely new approach. As unprepared as I felt, it was such a great learning experience to actually get to work with a child and force myself to think on my feet and adapt my skills on the fly.
The entire experience made me realize how amazingly patient and energetic pediatric therapists must be. I don't know if I'm cut out for it, but I absolutely loved the experience and I'm looking forward to going to back to implement our treatment plan.