Elisheva Fuchs, PT, DPT and owner of The Therapy Gym, is excited to announce its expansion, just a few feet away, to 1400 Palisade Ave in Teaneck. The new facility will be more than double the size of its existing location, and even feature an indoor pool.
For 10 years, The Therapy Gym has been at the heart of West Englewood Avenue. The need to expand was, in part, driven by Dr. Fuchs’ desire to expand aquatic programming. “I wanted an indoor pool because the aquatic program has been hugely beneficial to kids,” she said. “I wanted my own pool where I could expand the programming.”
While The Therapy Gym currently offers aquatic therapy on Sundays at a hotel pool, having the pool onsite will allow for more pool programming in general.
For now, children can enjoy the benefits of aquatic-based physical and occupational therapy. But once The Therapy Gym’s pool is complete, Dr. Fuchs plans to add aquatic-based speech therapy as well. “I think that the water has huge benefits from a strengthening perspective. It gives kids proprioceptive input. … Children who experience sensory integration disorder are seeking a lot of input. They get that just by being in the water. We can utilize the water as a medium while working on other skills including language.”
In fact, she is currently in the process of developing an aquatic-based speech therapy program. Typically, children are placed in swings or on balls in order to help give them input to their bodies or calm their systems. Doing this can help them regulate, allowing for therapists to elicit language that may not be present. “I feel that there will be a huge benefit to putting them in the water and seeing the benefits of getting deep breathing in the water, the compression of the water. … I think there will be huge gains far beyond what we are seeing on land.”
Aquatic therapy has been around for quite a while but offers a different approach that Dr. Fuchs would like to embrace. “For adults it has been utilized as a pain-free way to help with stretching and strengthening, especially when they experience inflammation in their joints. We utilize it in a similar way with kids, but I want to start utilizing it as a way for kids who have diagnoses such as sensory integration disorder, dysregulation and autism. … These kids tend to have a difficult time focusing and they seek a lot of input to their bodies. So the property of water automatically gives them that input.”
She explains that when the children are placed in the water, therapists can put them in different positions and then work on other skills such as deep breathing, language development, coordination, strengthening and flexibility. “Kids with high muscle tone have a very difficult time stretching on land. But when you put them in water, their muscles relax and they calm.”
Although the purpose of the new indoor pool will be primarily for aquatic therapy, The Therapy Gym hopes to expand pool programming in general by eventually offering swim lessons, kids classes and even aquatic-based Mommy & Me classes.
Of course, The Therapy Gym will also continue to offer its exceptional and wide variety of pediatric therapies including physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy and behavioral consultations for families and schools, and provide behavioral support for kids in their homes.
As of now The Therapy Gym offers home-based applied behavior analysis (ABA). However, the new facility will afford the staff the opportunity to add center-based ABA programming to its menu of offerings. Because children who receive ABA often also receive occupational therapy, physical therapy or speech therapy, being center-based will allow for a more collaborative approach between all the therapists.
For over 14 years Dr. Fuchs has been practicing as a pediatric physical therapist. After earning her DPT at UMDNJ (now Rutgers), she worked with children with autism in both the public and private school system and also dedicated much of her early career to early intervention.
For more information about the Therapy Gym, please visit www.thetherapygym.com or call 201-357-0417. If you have any questions regarding your child, you can email [email protected] You can also follow The Therapy Gym on Instagram and Facebook
By Ronit Mershon