The Power of What We SAY (Video)

Aimee Mullins was born without fibulae. She had both her legs amputated when she was just one year old. Today she’s an olympian, speaker, actor and much more. In a 2010 Ted Talk she recounts her experience growing up, and emphasizes the power words have to either lift people up and propel them forward, or “put lids on them and cast dark shadows.”

Her words are a critical reminder. As physical therapists, how we communicate with our patients, what we say to them, and how we listen–or don’t–can have tremendous bearing on outcomes. Do you agree? If not, Aimee’s talk may just shed new light on some things for you.


It must be noted, in her early years, Aimee wasn’t a huge fan of physical therapy. In discussing the time she spent at the hospital she confessed, “I loved almost everything about my time at this hospital. With the exception of my physical therapy sessions. I had to do what seemed like innumerable repetitions of exercises with these thick elastic bands, uh, different colors, you know, to help build up my leg muscles. And I hated these bands more than anything. I hated them, had names for them, I hated them.” When she was challenged to break said bands for cash rewards, however, PT became a little more interesting! #Whateverworks

Aimee’s full Ted Talk video below is well worth a look, but if you’re tight on time, here are some key PT-relevant messages she shares.

On Labels…


On The Human Ability to Adapt…

Ability to Adapt

On Adversity…





Aimee’s words resonate with us here at NAIOMT. Our courses, our programs and our seasoned clinicians and mentors not only teach PTs like you effective techniques, give guidance on “how to feel” and build clinical reasoning skills, they also help you incorporate sentiments like Aimee’s to help you fine tune a thorough approach to care.

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