September 15, 2023

Discovering a Niche with Pediatric Therapy

When picturing an athletic therapist, most often people conjure an image of someone working on a sports field with professional or amateur athletes. While this is the reality for many Certified Athletic Therapists across Canada, many have followed passions that take them into a more niche setting with unique clientele.

Julia Reid, Certified Athletic Therapist and owner of Play On Pediatric Therapy, is just one Certified AT drawn to carve out her own niche and specialize with a certain group.

Julia completed a degree in Kinesiology in 2006 from York University before becoming a Certified AT and working as Clinic Director at Core Solutions Physiotherapy and Wellness. Later in 2011, Julia received a Master's degree in Health Administration from the University of Ottawa, Telfer School of Management. From there, Julia held multiple roles in health administration, including a role as Business Manager at TELUS Health. During this time, Julia knew she wanted to return to athletic therapy and own her own clinic one day.

Julia was inspired to enter the world of pediatrics by the needs of her own four children. At 18 months old, her son began having severe leg pain that would keep him up at night. After being dismissed as growing pains by several doctors over a number of years, Julia took her son to see a physiotherapist who quickly identified the root of the problem: shin splints.

Working with an expert who had the knowledge and specialization to treat a pediatric patient was inspiring, and led to Julia taking the next step in her career journey. In 2021, Julia opened a multidisciplinary clinic, Play On Pediatric Therapy with a partner. Opening this clinic also filled a void in her community where previously these services were less accessible. Their team of physiotherapists, Certified ATs, occupational therapists, and more treat dozens of conditions, actively improving the lives of children and their families every day.

One of the hurdles to overcome with working with any unique clientele is how to customize treatment. Their kid-centric gym features a rock wall, swings, and other toys that ‘trick’ kids into meeting therapeutic goals through play, actively engaging them in their own treatment. Without these tactics, kids can’t be convinced like adults to participate in their therapy. Julia is committed to continual learning, an example that all Certified ATs can follow, to improve her practice and ultimately better help her clients.

Julia recommends that anyone who is looking to niche their athletic therapy career should shadow and volunteer in areas where they are interested. Until you experience the day-in and day-out of a specific area, it’s hard to know if that niche is right for you; sometimes our expectations don’t meet reality.

To find an athletic therapist to help you or a member of your family, visit the CATA website. Stay up to date with CATA by following us on Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn!