First Steps Wellness Centre (FSWC) offers students in a kinesiology or related field the opportunity to participate in a fieldwork semester where students are provided practical, hands-on experience working with clients that have varying levels of spinal cord injuries or other types of neuromuscular conditions. As an organization, our purpose is to educate our clients, community, professionals, and future professionals with the leading research, methods, and recovery techniques used to work with Spinal Cord Injuries (SCI) and other neuromuscular conditions.

FSWC aims to provide prospective applicants with the following:

  • Safe transfer & lifting techniques
  • Learning about the theory and methods behind the Dardzinski method
  • Learning about specialized equipment used at FSWC
  • Why exercise-based methods may lead to recovery
  • Published research pertaining to improved function in SCI & other neuromuscular conditions
  • What being a non-profit organization entails
  • How to carry out an exercise plan for our clients
  • How to plan a session with a client based on their goals

FSWC has the following expectations of students during their fieldwork:

  • Learn and be comfortable doing transfers/lifts involving people with a disability
  • Be active both with suggestions, ideas, and hands-on
  • Assist, carry out, and eventually develop exercise prescription for people with a SCI
  • Be aware of the current research regarding exercise as a functional recovery option for people with a SCI and other neuromuscular conditions
  • Participate in activities that FSWC supports, such as fundraisers, support of clients, wheelchair athletics, etc.

Here are some recent testimonials from previous fieldwork students:

Doing my fieldwork placement at First Steps Wellness Centre was the most valuable portion of my undergrad degree. It allowed me to take what I learned in class and apply it to real work situations. Not only did First Steps put me in positions to further my education, it provided a place that was conducive to learning. Both the staff and clientele were willing to educate me and possessed a lot of knowledge. I believe that I achieved both professional and personal development working in this one of kind facility.

I would recommend doing fieldwork at First Steps to Kinesiology students who are interested in learning about exercise physiology and rehabilitation. The staff and clientele are such an amazing resource in the world of spinal cord injuries. It was such an amazing experience working there and I am excited to see them grow in the future.

  • Matthew Lueck Winter 2015

My fieldwork placement at First Steps Wellness Centre was by far the most rewarding part of my degree. First Steps gave me the opportunity to build upon the information I had learned in the classroom, and apply it to a unique population of clients. Their knowledge of neuromuscular disorders and one-of-a-kind approach to rehabilitation is unparalleled in Canada.

First Steps is a non-profit organization, and because of this they employ a unique philosophy in the rehabilitation sector. Their focus is always the needs of their clients, and that is very apparent in the way they run their business, and how they have developed their image within the community.

My time at First Steps was without a doubt the highlight of my degree. The passion and drive of the staff and clients was inspiring, and my experience has pushed me and encouraged me to become a professional in this field.

  • Adam Benjamin Fall 2015

If you are interested in completing your fieldwork requirements at First Steps Wellness Centre please contact Shane Hartje at shane@fswcwpg.ca.