TOPEKA (KSNT) – A Topeka physical therapist is going back to the same district that helped her get on her feet to help kids in their development.
Inside a Meadows Elementary School classroom, there might be a future Jayhawk basketball player in the making or maybe even a singer. But first, he needs a little bit of help to get wherever the road may lead him.
Help he’s getting from a team of physical therapist assistants like Kim Summers.
Summers is a physical therapist assistant for Topeka Public Schools. She helps the younger kiddos who might be delayed in gross motor skills.
“Ball skills, jumping, galloping, skipping,” Summers said. “Things of that nature. And we work on that function in order to obtain a new strength goal, mobility goals so they can get around their school functionally and independently as much as possible.”
Physical therapy has been a part of the district for years. However, Summers is bringing in something new for the kids she works with.
“My previous experience is just in a pediatric setting at a pediatric hospital in Kansas City,” she said.
Another bonus, she actually grew up in the school district and Topeka, later graduating from Topeka West High School. After high school, she went to Bethany College then got her physical therapy training from Washburn University.
Eventually, Summers came back to her roots to do what she loved in an opportunity she couldn’t pass up.
“I was a student here and whatnot, it just felt like home,” she said. “Of course it is where I grew up, and my roots. Something about just feeling right at home being a staff member here in Topeka Public Schools…It just seemed like a perfect fit for me.”
Now while she gets to come back to the same district that helped her get to where she is now, her job is about the kids. She realizes sometimes students might not have the chance to get physical therapy and become as independent as possible outside of school, making the most of her time with every child.
Summers actually joined the district in the middle of the pandemic, so her first time on the job involved a lot of creativity to make sure students actually got the training they needed from home.
“It’s an opportunity for them to get to have those services in school, which is really awesome,” Summers said. “And getting them to where they can just be functional human beings for the rest of their lives in everything that they do.”
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