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New physical therapist focuses on kids

Tamara Miller
Preston Utley/Vail DailyPediatric physical therapist Christy Cary interacts with 16-month-old Amy Vanessa Gandarilla in the Howard Head Clinic in Edwards.
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EDWARDS – Few things worry parents more than when something is wrong with their kids. Christy Cary makes a living trying to help those kids. Along the way, she says, she helps the parents, too.Cary is a pediatric physical therapist, meaning she helps young kids who have problems moving around learn how to move around a little better. Her patients range from 8-month-old babies who haven’t learned to sit up yet to children who face lifelong physical disabilities. She’s the only pediatric therapist in the valley who works with patients through regular office visits, rather than more-expensive home visits. Physical therapy for kids is nothing new, but it’s relatively new to Eagle County, Cary said. “There’s definitely a need out there, and we’ve seen a fair amount so far,” Cary said.

One of her patients, a 14-year-old, used to be driven nearly 60 miles to Carbondale for physical therapy.Because kids love to play, playing around is party of their therapy. Cary uses toys and games to help children strengthen weak muscles or learn to complete tasks despite a disability. For example, Cary might engage a child in a rolling game to help the child learn to sit up without help. Once those muscles are working more, the child may start reaching for toys. Eventually, the child has the strength to sit. Part of the challenge is teaching the parents to continue the exercises at home, Cary said. “You have to be really creative to be able to get the things that you need accomplished while getting the kid to want to do something,” she said. Keeping the experience fun and as painless as possible is important, too, Cary said.

“You really don’t want a child crying through therapy because then they trust you,” she said. Cary graduated from the University of Colorado with a bachelor’s degree in kinesiology. She earned a master’s degree in physical therapy from Regis University in Denver.While working at Children’s Hospital in Denver, Cary discovered she wanted to work specifically with kids, she said. “One thing I really like is seeing that pure joy when they accomplish something,” she said. “You see it in their eyes and their face, as well as with their parents. That’s really rewarding.” ======================================Contact information

Christy Cary, pediatric physical therapist – 569-7777======================================Staff Writer Tamara Miller can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 607, or tmiller@vaildaily.com.Vail, Colorado


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