Physical Therapist to Educator

by Mia Thomas, PT, DPT


If you asked me ask a toothless second grader ‘What I was going to be when I grew up?’ I would have told you an art teacher; that was until about 6th grade when I realized being artistic and creative were not necessarily the same and my strengths were definitely not in art. For years I stayed within the realm of wanting to teach, but not quite knowing what I was passionate about or knowledgeable enough about. My senior year of high school was the first time I found myself in the position where I was understanding concepts much easier than my peers – that was when I took my first anatomy class. Then, I took a hands on sports medicine class, and again found myself helping my classmates understand mechanisms for how injuries occurred and what muscles might be involved. This is when I knew I wanted to become a physical therapist and eventually teach in the field.


After completing my undergraduate years at Ithaca College, I was finally ready to begin going on clinical rotations – this was when I realized I could have an opportunity to teach sooner than I had expected. The American physical therapy association allows therapists to become a clinical instructor after one year of practice and offers classes all over the United States to become a certified credentialed clinical instructor; this title ensures future generations of therapists will be receiving the best clinical experiences possible and prepares clinical instructors for difficult or exceptional students.


Upon becoming a CCIP, Lifespan Therapies, PLLC was approached by a lovely woman at Daemen College, Bailey Crook, SPT, looking to set up a clinical internship in pediatrics near her hometown of Auburn. I was overjoyed upon hearing this and more than eager to work with a student that was trying to set up their own internship as these are typically students that go above and beyond; and she certainly fit the mold. Lifespan Therapies, PLLC has so many unique opportunities for their therapists and students and Bailey was sure to utilize them all. Within her first week, despite having never ridden a horse before, she set up weekly meetings with our associate Kirsta Malone, OTR, a hippotherapist in Union Springs, NY.


Receiving a student with such an enthusiasm to learn and explore all the different things physical therapists do encouraged me to learn more outside of my knowledge base, think more critically about treatments, and allowed both of us to grow from experiences that baffled us. Offering this service to future generations, not only allows you to help someone grow in their own practice, but it also helps shape yours.


If you want to learn more about Bailey’s experiences with hippotherapy and learn more about it, look at these blog posts written by Bailey Crook, SPT during her time with Lifespan Therapies, PLLC; also check out these pictures of Bailey’s first ride!