Valerie Wondra has been a valuable member of the Heartspring pediatrics physical therapy team since 2013. A published researcher, she brings years of experience, creativity and energy to our team.
Once Valerie finds a need in the community, she uses her creativity and research experience to find a practical solution, as evident in her work here at Heartspring. Valerie has played an integral role in bringing new programs and therapies to Heartspring. She initiated and developed the telemedicine wheelchair clinic in conjunction with Children’s Mercy Hospital. The clinic team includes a physician, therapist, assistive technology professional and the family. With support of the wheelchair clinic team, families and children participate in an assessment to determine the most appropriate seating system to meet their home and school needs. Along with the wheelchair clinic, Valerie also provides assessments and recommendations for adaptive equipment in order to improve children’s access to their home, school and community.
One unique way Valerie facilitates improved mobility is through the GoBabyGo! Program. After attending a GoBabyGo! conference, she brought this unique idea back to the Heartspring families. In this program, Valerie modifies electric ride-on cars to fit the special needs of her patients. With access to these ride-on cars, children with limited use of their legs are able to activate the car with their hands.
Along with improving the mobility of children, another unique skill that Valerie offers to the pediatric community is the assessment, casting and fitting of custom foot orthotics. Valerie has been providing this resource to patients since 2001. As a physical therapist, she is able to evaluate not only posture and alignment but also the functional impact of foot orthotics. By monitoring the child’s progress during therapy, she is able to assist patients with modifications to the orthotics as their functional needs change.
Before coming to Heartspring, Valerie worked for ten years as a physical therapist in a school district. There, she gained experience working with youth in the school setting. She provided guidance to children, families and staff regarding improving functional participation and access to the educational environment.
Another passion of Valerie’s is research. Before and after graduating from Wichita State University’s physical therapy program, she participated in multiple research projects. She has co-authored 10 research publications, presenting many of them to national or local audiences. Topics of her research have included foot orthotics, use of electronic gait analysis in the pediatric population, cardiovascular fitness of youth diagnosed with Down syndrome and aerobic capacity of youth diagnosed with cystic fibrosis.
As described by a parent… “Valerie has a soft heart and genuine love for sharing her gift with her kids. She is a dedicated, loving and caring professional. Her kids are blessed to have her sincerity and dedication to ensuring their needs are exceeded”.