Get to know Joe

Joe Kiefer, owner of Developmental Steps, recently talked to Empire Broadcasting’s Dylan Horan to discuss pediatric physical therapy and the distinctive qualities that sets Developmental Steps apart from other physical therapy offices.

Inspired by a volunteer opportunity in college, Joe Kiefer decided to dedicate his physical therapy career to working with children.  “Working with kids and changing their lives” is what Joe has always found most rewarding.  He described how he worked with some young adults who had extremely limited mobility, and over time he helped them learn strategies to move better, to walk and eventually to be able to live independently.

Children require a much different approach than adults, Joe explained.  A therapist needs to anticipate all the changes a child’s body will undergo as they grow and develop.  “With adults, you might be teaching them something they used to know how to do.  With kids, you’re teaching them how to move in a way they never have before.”  He has had great success motivating children using individualized, fun strategies and creative environments.

Gaining a child’s trust is often the biggest obstacle he faces.  “Making things fun encourages kids to try to do what you want them to do.  You have to be silly and fun and change up the activity so they’re willing to try it.”  Joe highlighted adaptability as the skill most necessary for a successful pediatric physical therapist.  “Any therapist can come up with an exercise,” Joe said, “but when you’re working with kids, you’ve got to adapt and connect with them to make it fun.”

The cornerstone of Joe’s practice is the individualized attention and treatment he and his staff provide to families.  Each child receives personalized treatment, and each family can rely on the therapist to deliver strategies to meet the family’s goals.  Forming a relationship with the family fosters trust and collaboration.  A disability “doesn’t just affect the child, it may be affecting the whole family.” Joe explained.  “If you can help that child become independent or participate in a sport, you’re opening doors for that family.  Developmental Steps can help families meet their goals despite the challenges they face.”


To hear the entire interview with Empire Broadcasting, visit:


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