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Alumni spotlight: Abbey Twehous, pediatric physical therapist

April 20, 2021

April 20, 2021

In these spotlights, we feature recent Health Professions alumni who are improving people’s health and well-being in a variety of careers all across the country. Find out what they’re doing now, and how their Mizzou education helped them get there. 

Abbey Twehous

Degrees and graduation years: BHS ’17 (Health Sciences), DPT ’20 
Job title: Pediatric Physical Therapist
Employer: Special Learning Center
Current city: Jefferson City, Missouri

Physical Therapy for little ones

Abbey Twehous kneels next to a client's foot on a treadmill in the PhysZOU clinic

Twehous kneels next to a client’s foot on a treadmill in the PhysZOU clinic for gait training.

Can you describe your current position? 

I get to treat kiddos of various ages and abilities in a number of settings including schools and homes. Each setting has different perks, but I especially love treating kids for intensive physical therapy in our clinic, where they come at least three times a week for three hours at a time over a course of about five weeks. 

What do you like about your job? 

You absolutely cannot beat the feeling of celebrating the accomplishments made during physical therapy sessions — the little ones and the big ones. The strides of progress that can be made in a short amount of time are truly incredible. It takes a lot of work from all parties involved — the child, their family, and the therapist — but seeing the physical accomplishments and the increased confidence that go along with it makes the time spent well worth it. Basically, I really love getting to be a cheerleader for these kiddos as they achieve their goals. 

Life at Mizzou

Why did you choose Mizzou? 

The SHarP scholars program allowed me to apply to the doctorate program at Mizzou as a high school student. This was one of the things that drew me to Mizzou, but seeing the atmosphere on campus and in the School of Health Professions really sealed the deal for me. The people, programs, and experiences here are second to none. 

What was the most helpful part of your education, and how does it apply to your job today?

One of the most helpful “classes” was being part of the physical therapy department’s pro bono clinic, PhysZOU. Rotations in PhysZOU are built into the PT curriculum at Mizzou, offering opportunities to work with underserved populations under the guidance of faculty members. As a student in the clinic, it’s such a supportive environment that allows you to apply the concepts you’ve learned in class to real situations with real patients. PhysZOU also helped us learn how to work with others on the health care team. 

Favorite Mizzou memory?
Abbey Twehous tosses a beach ball to a client in PhysZOU

Twehous tosses a beach ball to a client in PhysZOU to work on balance.

There’s something special about a freshman year dining hall breakfast with your roommates. Sunday mornings with a blueberry cake donut or plate of biscuits and gravy make you feel right at home.

Advice for current or future Health Professions students? 

My best advice would be to appreciate your own route to your goals, whatever they may be and however that may look. You don’t need to have everything figured out after your first week, semester, or even after your first year on campus. At Mizzou, there are plenty of people in your corner rooting for you to find your path, so don’t be afraid to ask for help along the way.

Meant to Be

What else was notable about your Mizzou experience? 

Even at a large university like Mizzou, there are things that remind you that we sometimes live in a pretty small world. For example, when I was a junior in high school, I shadowed a pediatric physical therapist at the Special Learning Center in Jefferson City, Missouri. Six years later, as a Mizzou student, I returned to the Special Learning Center for my final clinical rotation — and left with a job offer. The first physical therapist I ever shadowed is now my supervisor and mentor, and I can say with full confidence that I have the best job with the greatest kiddos a pediatric physical therapist could ask for.