District 21’s physical therapist Mallory Rossi talks fast, walks fast and moves fast. She also has a “no excuses” attitude. So when she tore her ACL as a junior basketball player at St. Viator H.S. and spent nine months in physical therapy, it slowed… her… down…which she didn’t like. But what she discovered was that she loved doing PT; she loved the people and was inspired to help others in the same way. Mallory came to District 21 about a year after graduating with a bachelors’ degree in exercise science and a doctorate of physical therapy from St. Louis University. She works at Riley, Tarkington and London schools to help students with IEPs (individual education programs) learn important skills. She guides them through the school environment, supporting them and helping them manage their day. She assists with gross motor skills allowing students to access their environment more independently.
And her “no excuses” attitude comes in handy when students get too comfortable. Last year, she helped a student increase his confidence to walk independently without a stroller or walker. It wasn’t easy. He’s non verbal and had low confidence, so her actions had to speak for themselves. She challenged him by slowly taking his stroller away; then his walker. “I pushed him to change with the school team,” said Mallory. Her tough love and encouraging approach now has this student climbing stairs with minimal assistance. That’s the payoff!
For her own pleasure, Mallory likes to workout and run. And you might see her barefoot water skiing at her family’s lake house in Wisconsin or snow skiing in Denver. No one has to force her to be active…just to slow down.