Dianna Noonan's career as a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) came from blending two things she has extensive experience with; sports (track and field) and healthcare.

Dianna was born with hearing loss but it wasn't till she was 4 years old that it was diagnosed and she was prescribed hearing aids. Dianna does remember at times feeling self conscious and having difficulty advocating for herself because she didn't want to draw more attention to her disability. Says Dianna, "it was hard to continually ask the teacher to repeat things in class and request items that would help me hear better because I just didn't want to draw attention to my disability. While in the long journey towards self acceptance of her hearing loss at the end of her high school career, Dianna's motto became "Life will get better".

Dianna always kept very involved in sports growing up; participating in swimming, soccer and karate. But it wasn't till high school, when Dianna was asked to run with the track team, that she found her niche. In high school, Dianna found her confidence through sports, specifically track. Says Dianna, "Track showed me that my disability doesn't define me. I felt this freedom and this confidence that I could express myself and show my abilities". Dianna did so well that she was offered a track scholarship in pole vaulting an NCAA Division II program at Grand Valley State University.

Dianna was connected with Division of Rehabilitation Services (DRS) Counselor Mary Ann Rice as she was graduating from high school. Dianna decided that combining her love for sports, healing through manual therapy and exercise, and interest for healthcare was the perfect match. But she knew she would need assistance with accommodations and advocacy during her academic and clinical coursework. Mary Ann proved to be a great asset for this. "She (Mary Ann) was great! She communicated with my professors, disability services, and myself during my collegiate and graduate school years to assist in the creation and approval of academic, clinical, and work accommodations that I needed to succeed as a student and a practicing physical therapist. In addition, they (DRS) provided additional technological resources such as closed captioning services to use during meetings, websites for a landline closed captioning telephone and employment rights for persons with disabilities". Dianna states that these resources allowed her to research technological items to help to provide safe and high quality academic and patient care, and know her rights as a hearing impaired individual in the work and rental living environment.

Dianna's motto of, "Life gets better" has held true for her. With the assistance of DRS, she has worked hard, become a strong self advocate and been a success in her physical therapy career.


To learn more, call 1-877-761-9780 Voice, 1-866-264-2149 TTY, (312) 957-4881  VP, or read about DRS's Services. Refer yourself or someone else for services using the online Rehabilitation Services Web Referral.