Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA) Program Celebrates 7 Years of Community partnership with Polk County Senior Fest and Health Fair & Special Olympics
Polk County Senior Fest and Health Fair
To celebrate Older Americans Month, Polk County Senior Services hosts an annual picnic and health fair in
May. Mercy College PTA faculty and students have sponsored a health screening booth for the past seven (7) years.
"More than 130 participants visited the Mercy College PTA booth this year for a screening; which included grip strength and a chair stands test to assess leg strength." PTA Program Chair, Sue Bravard
This experience provided PTA students with:
- Invaluable practice with communication skills
- Increased comfort levels with client-related instruction
- Increased confidence in adapting to unfamiliar settings
- Increased appreciation with administering relevant tests for people from different walks of life.
- Opportunity to interact with older adults, a critical population for our discipline
Fun Fitness, Special Olympics Iowa State Summer Games
In late May, the PTA students engaged in the Fun Fitness Program, which is a screening event designed specifically for athletes participating in the Special Olympics Games. Strength, balance, aerobic fitness and flexibility are the main components of the program. The students are able to interact with a diverse group of athletes with varying levels of intellectual and physical abilities. In addition, students work with other students (both PT and PTA), licensed PTs and PTAs to offer the various screening stations. Faculty provide individual athlete instruction based on fitness screening results.
This experience provided PTA students:
- With the ability to apply the skills learned in class
- To increase their confidence with explaining and giving instructions
- To gain new perspectives in working with people with disabilities
- The chance to work with the athletes and other students.
PTA Program Chair Sue Bravard and PTA Assistant Professor Melissa Etten
were recognized by Special Olympics Iowa for their dedication to the FunFitness Program.