Adi Stewart works hard to impact as many lives as she can. To see someone learn or relearn to use their body again can be a miracle, especially in circumstances that Stewart has first-hand experienced. As a 20-year-old going on 21, Stewart is already on her way to success.
Stewart is planning to graduate in 2016 from the Physical Therapist Assistance program at Whatcom with a Bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology. This is where she will be learning about how the complex human body functions by interacting with a variety of people.
She was first inspired to become a PTA after seeing how passionate other Physical Therapists and Physical Therapist Assistants were about working with her when she had experienced a few injuries of her own.
Stewart pictured with her PTA training team, center right.
So far the most breathtaking experience for Stewart just happened during her clinical internship at a rehab facility.
Recently starting at a clinic in Sedro Woolley, Stewart now has the chance to work with a young patient who has suffered a total brain injury and has quite a few obstacles to overcome.
“I was expecting to see pretty generic situations before arriving; most rehab centers have older patients, about 65-years and up, that are recovering from illnesses, surgeries, and other things,” Steward said. “But on my first day I was able to be a part of the most amazing therapy session of my career thus far.”
When the brain is injured traumatically, many of our neural connections are damaged and have difficulty rebuilding quickly, similar to bridges within our brain Stewart said. When we learn to talk, a bridge is formed between our brain and the mechanisms that allow us to speak. When the brain is injured, the bridge for speech can also be damaged, causing us to try and build that bridge all over again, she said.
For the young patient Stewart works with, this damaging of bridges takes place throughout the entire body. A majority of their bridges have been broken meaning they have to relearn everything, including how to walk, talk, and move, all over again in order to rebuild the bridges.
This is where Stewart comes in. During her training she will be learning how to help the patient rebuild their body and relearn everything they have lost.
“It’s going to take time of course, nothing happens overnight, but this person I’m working with is trying so hard to recover and has already surpassed more than anyone thought they ever would and that to me is breathtaking,” Stewart said. “They are a patient that wants something so much and who breaks barriers that people have placed upon them. I’m really excited to work with them and see how far they progress throughout my internship!”
Stewart spends her free time running through Whatcom Fall’s trails, online shopping and binge watching her current favorite shows, “New Girl” and “How I Met Your Mother.” After graduating and scrolling through the never-ending pages of Pinterest, Stewart hopes to travel to Spain to expand her cultural pallet.
She describes her dream job as working with kids that have developmental abilities. She currently works with a program called Kids in Motion where she helps children with neuromuscular disorders and other disabilities. She hopes to be able to work with young athletes who frequently are injured in order to help their bones and bodies grow properly.
“If you are considering this major/career just know that it is so rewarding and hopefully you will love it as much as I am!”