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Pediatric Physical Therapy:
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Students' Perceptions of Their School-Based Physical Therapy.

Jewell, Marnie W. MS, PT; Roush, Susan E. PhD, PT

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Abstract

The purpose of this ethnographic study was to describe older children's and adolescents' perceptions of the school-based physical therapy (PT) services they receive. Parents of 12 students who received PT in the schools responded to advertisements and agreed to allow their children to be interviewed. During nonstandardized, qualitative interviews, students were asked about their perceptions of 12 PT-related topics. These topics dealt with the students' feelings about their PT treatment, their feelings about their therapist, and the effect of having a disability on their day at school. Also, the students ranked, by preference, school activities including PT. A content analysis of the interview transcripts was conducted by a panel of physical therapist judges. The results demonstrated that the students perceived PT to be enjoyable, they recognized the value of PT, and viewed it as an established part of their school routine. In addition, students ranked PT in the upper third of their preferred daily activities. Physical therapists can use the descriptive data from this ethnographic study to facilitate positive interactions with the children they serve in the educational environment.

(C) Williams & Wilkins 1995. All Rights Reserved.

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