Shortly after I became a physical therapist, my spouse and I relocated to Washington, D.C. for his “temporary” work assignment. After our first child was born, we decided to stay, and after our second child was born, I began to feel a pull to return to work.  After learning from fellow parents how difficult it was for them to find pediatric physical therapists in D.C., I saw I could fill a need here and opened Play-Based Physical Therapy.

The first 11 years, my practice operated out of small clinics. In 2013, Play-Based Physical Therapy, Inc. became a contract provider to DC’s Strong Start Early Intervention Program. Becoming an Early Intervention provider dramatically changed how we delivered services. Instead of the children coming to us, we went to the children. The concept of Early Intervention is that children learn best in their natural environment and therapists can best support the child and their family at home or daycare.

It became very apparent that not only did I not need the clinic space, but I needed more therapists to help me meet the needs of DC’s growing pediatric population. So in September 2015, I closed my bricks and mortar clinic, set up an office at home, and now manage my practice while my dog snores nearby on the sofa. I have slowly added more therapists, but we continue to be a small group. We have our meetings at my home around the dining room table and, so far, no one has complained about the office environment. I manage my practice and also carry a caseload, which helps me relate to the therapists that work with my company. I have been fortunate to find some of the kindest, smartest, pediatric physical therapists to work with me. I have mentored some of them before they went to PT school. We now mentor each other as we share our knowledge, experiences, and make plans for the future together.


- Melissa Parmley Smith, PT

About Us: A Note from the Director