ABOUT US | Fieldwork

First Steps Fieldwork

First Steps Wellness Centre (FSWC) offers students in a kinesiology or related fields 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 associated disorders. 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 associated disorders.

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 & associated disorders
  • What being a non-profit & charitable organization entails
  • How to carry out an exercise plan for our clients
  • How to plan a session with a client based on their goals

  • Justin-FSWC-fieldwork-SCI-Rehab

    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 participating in client’s sessions
  • 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 associated disorders
  • Participate in activities that FSWC supports, such as fundraisers, support of clients, wheelchair athletics, etc.

  • Questions? Contact First Steps Today!


    This experience has not only substantially contributed to my professional knowledge but has given me the opportunity to undergo valuable personal growth. The ability to create a genuine bond with the clientele at FSWC has undoubtedly been the most enjoyable part of my fieldwork experience and has truly guided me towards a better understanding of the type of professional I want to be. Being in an environment that supports creativity and ingenuity has challenged me to expand how I perceive the area of rehabilitation and has given me the knowledge and insight to foster success as an emerging professional.

    - Jamie Prisciak, Winter 2018

    Being able to work so closely and independently with clients was one of the best parts of completing my fieldwork at First Steps, as it gave a realistic taste of what it would be like to work as a therapist and use my degree regarding therapy for neuromuscular conditions. As a smaller non-profit organization, First Steps highly values the assistance that fieldwork students and volunteers are able to provide. As such, I experienced a high level of respect and value from my peers at First Steps. Fieldwork students are essential to the everyday operations at First Steps, and perform duties ranging from assistance during therapy to schedule coordination, as well as one-on-one therapy with clients. The skills and experience that I have gained while working at First Steps will benefit me as I continue in the field of Kinesiology, and as I pursue a career in providing quality care to my future patients and/or clients.

    - James Hill, Winter 2017

    Here are testimonials from previous fieldwork students:

    My experience at First Steps provided an opportunity for professional and academic growth that far exceeded my expectations. Fieldwork at First Steps is an intensive professional skill building environment through which I learned diverse practical skills, gained professional confidence, and was inspired to even greater learning than I anticipated. First Steps provides the opportunity to put theory into practice and learn from knowledgeable exercise therapists through direct observation and active participation in therapy sessions. The learning curve at First Steps is steep, but totally worth it to enter the workforce with a well-rounded professional skill-set.

    - Kaylin Herman, Summer 2021

    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-a-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 neurological 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

    Contact First Steps Wellness Centre

    Interested in learning more about our programs OR booking a tour of one of our facilities? Please let us know below!