Viki Speed is the first to admit she sees some pretty awesome things in her job as a physiotherapist for VMCH’s specialist school, St Paul’s College.
She helps students with a range of disabilities overcome obstacles to do things like ride a bike, enjoy a group sport and get around school more independently.
“I don’t think there’s a better feeling than when you’re working with a student and they learn to do something they have been working really hard to do…”
We asked her a few questions about her job.
What is your current role and what does it involve?
My role is to support the students to progress their physical skills. That might include helping teachers to learn how to use equipment … helping kids to move their bodies as much as they are able to. For some it’s more around bike riding skills, sport skills, teaching the kids how to throw and catch a ball, how to play hockey. For some students it is learning how to control their bodies so they can access a communication system.
What do you like about working at St Paul’s College?
I really like working with a range of students. We’ve got students here whose needs are really different.
We’ve got a trans-disciplinary allied health team with an occupational therapist, psychologist, speech pathologist and physiotherapist. We all work together to provide the best outcomes for the kids that we can. There’s that sense of everyone moving towards the same goals here which is really nice.
What do you enjoy about working with school children?
I love seeing the joy on kids’ faces when they achieve something that they thought was difficult or they thought they couldn’t do… being able to see their enthusiasm to really try and do things.
What’s the most rewarding thing about your job?
The most rewarding thing would be when a student achieves a goal that they have been working towards. Also, when the students learn lifelong skills and not just skills for school.
What is your future wish for the people you support at St Paul’s College?
I hope that they can be as independent as possible, including their physical skills and being autonomous communicators, so that they can be active members of the community once they leave school. We need to prepare students for whatever is after school. For students to be as active as possible and to really enjoy physical activities. To see themselves as students who can do things they set their minds to and have people believe in them and achieve whatever it is they’d like to achieve into adulthood.
What does inclusion look like to you?
I think inclusion is looking at the students being able to participate in a wide variety and range of activities in school and outside of school. Even if it’s not exactly the same activity, it can be modified so that they can participate and be active with their peers and be involved.
What do you enjoy doing outside of work?
I am fairly active myself. I love riding my bike and swimming. I have been in quite a few triathlons and bike racing.
I also love baking. Any sort of baking, cake decorating, baking or hosting dinner parties. There’s a lot of joy in food. It’s a good hobby to have.