HIGH POINT, N.C., June 22, 2017 – Students in High Point University’s physical therapy doctoral program are one of the newest groups on campus, but already they’re building relationships with children in their community.
Children at Camp High Five, a weeklong program for youth with limited movement on one side of the body, are receiving support and mentorship from several HPU physical therapy students this week. The HPU students, alongside certified occupational and physical therapists, are leading children through fun activities designed to encourage them to use the side of their body that’s limited so it can grow stronger. The camp is being held at the Haynes-Inman Education Center and continues through Friday.
From a water balloon toss to playing musical instruments and fishing coins out of homemade slime, the camp leaders’ goal is to engage children while improving their movement. Meanwhile, the HPU students are experiencing what it’s like to work with children.
“I’ve been able to see how working with children is different from working with other populations, such as the elderly,” said HPU student Jordan Pope. “At home, it’s common for the children to rely on their stronger side. We’re encouraging them to use their affected side. I like the hands-on experience we’re receiving here and working with these kids.”
HPU’s first physical therapy students, 60 in total, arrived on May 17. For faculty members who connected students with the camp, Pope’s experience was their ultimate goal.
“These students are only in their fifth week of a very intense program, but we want them to learn to build rapport in different ways, such as through play and imagination,” says Dora Gosselin, director of clinical education in HPU’s Department of Physical Therapy and a pediatric physical therapist. “Today, they are making observations while also getting hands-on experience. They’re learning how to help the children see if they can improve the way their bodies move.”
Megan Kaufman, board president for Camp High Five and an occupational therapist at Cone Health, said camp organizers are looking forward to having HPU students be involved in the camp each summer.
“We are very excited to have HPU and their physical therapy program here,” Kaufman says. “Having physical therapists onsite for the camp provides another level to the care we can provide and an extra set of hands to encourage children to use their affected side. It also further incorporates the entire community of therapists and students from the Triad. Their insight is amazing and helps us make the camp better.”