ITS MORE THAN A POOL
Danny sits in a wheelchair most of the day. His physical therapists at Marklund work with him often to stretch and strengthen his constricted muscles using various pieces of therapeutic equipment. It’s a slow, strenuous process. But on the days he is able to get into the therapy pool, things progress much faster. He can stand on his weak legs and maintain balance thanks to the water's buoyancy. Arms that are normally tightened against his torso become relaxed in the warm water and stretch out allowing him to reach for a beach ball and hand it to a visitor.
Marklund is one of the few nonprofit organizations in the northern Illinois area specializing in the care of individuals with
developmental disabilities to have its own heated aquatic therapy pool on site. In the pool and adjacent whirlpool spa, Marklund’s clients receive this specialized form of specialized physical therapy, one which they thoroughly enjoy. Aquatic therapy has been proven to increase circulation, range of motion and relaxation. The properties of the water, such as its buoyancy, allows for more dynamic exercises in a safe environment.
Aquatic therapy allow the therapist to move and manipulate the patient with greater ease and diversity. It also allows for people to achieve a variety of therapy goals, which is a win-win situation for all involved. Staffed by aquatic and physical therapists, Marklund’s aquatic therapy program is supported solely by private donations as it is not among the services reimbursed by state funding. However, thanks to a recent $540,000 gift from the Foglia Family Foundation, Marklund is able to increase the staffing and expand the program, giving its clients three times the amount of aquatic therapy received each year.
In addition, Marklund will partner with a major university to document the positive effects of aquatic therapy on those with developmental disabilities. “An aquatic therapy program this extensive is rare, and we are very excited about what this is going to do for our clients and for how the research will benefit all those individuals with developmental disabilities,” said CEO Gil Fonger.