Keeping the Lifespan Perspective: Karen Gage Bensley
Karen Gage Bensley, LEND faculty member and physical therapist, is passionate and intentional about facilitating and encouraging children of all ages with disabilities or physical impairments to participate in the joys and challenges of childhood. “I keep a lifespan perspective, knowing that how I work with a child through young adulthood affects their future health, wellness and independence”, says Bensley.
Karen has worked with families as a pediatric physical therapist in a range of settings from acute children’s hospitals, homecare, early intervention to private practice. She is presently a pediatric team member at York Hospital in southern Maine. She joined the NH-ME LEND faculty in 1994, participates in the LEND Seminar, mentors trainees, and participated on the interdisciplinary diagnostic team at the Seacoast Child Development Clinic. Karen was one of the first one hundred physical therapists to become board-certified in pediatric therapy and has watched the growth of specialists gradually spread in New England. She has held state leadership roles in the American Physical Therapy Association and the Academy of Pediatric Physical Therapy, most recently as the Regional Director of eleven Northeastern states.
“I love my career and the people it has brought into my life. The field of pediatric physical therapy has advanced amazingly over the years and I am motivated by the next generation of professionals rising up with new passions and ideas and a desire to provide evidence-based and compassionate services in new ways.”
This past summer, Karen and her husband lived aboard their 36’ trawler and traveled the northeast portion of The Great Loop, a circumnavigation of the eastern U.S. and part of Canada. They plan to return to their trawler, Clare, next summer for more summer adventures with family and friends.