Fun Gym Environment
New gym brings an interactive setting for therapy
Every patient is unique. AMY NOLAN applies this principle every day as owner and director of Therapy Works of Wilmington. The Virginia native graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree from UNC Greensboro and received her Master of Science–communication disorders from the University of Wyoming. She felt naturally drawn to a career in the health field after being raised by a father who is an ophthalmologist and a mother who is a nurse.
“I have always been attracted to helping others,” says Nolan who has been in private practice as a speech pathologist since 2000. The speech pathology field is very diverse, so Nolan found it appealing.
“There is a misconception of what defines speech pathology,” Nolan says. “People think it is about only helping people to talk.” Speech pathologists work with everything from the shoulders up she says. “This includes swallowing, cognition, processing, language, and of course, articulation. I love the challenge of figuring out the best plan for each patient.”
Nolan originally started the business, which includes four locations, to have more flexibility in her schedule for her family. The opposite happened.
“Well, that was a joke,” she says. “The hours and dedication are constant, but I would never change a thing. Each day, I am treating patients anywhere from age 0-100 with a multitude of different diagnoses.”
Among providing speech and occupational therapy services, Therapy Works assists individuals with augmentative communication, pragmatic/social skills, and swallowing among other areas. Nolan and her staff offer evaluation and treatment of infants, children, adolescents, and adults for multiple diagnoses.
A new addition to the Therapy Works set-up is the Developmental Gym. It’s one of a few gyms of its kind in the state, and the only one in Wilmington.
“The ability to provide interdisciplinary therapies in the gym is an amazing asset to our area,” says employee and speech pathologist STEPHANIE SCHLOSSER. The facility consists of 2,500 square feet of slides, steps, zip lines, and more.
“The kids have been exceeding all expectations in this environment,” Nolan says. The gym caters to ages 2-12.
“Our staff is one-on-one with their patients, however, there are opportunities for natural social interactions with other patients in the gym,” Nolan says. “There’s a spot for all kinds of abilities.”
Nonverbal children can communicate with their therapists with boards and pictures. MERIDITH MCCUMBEE, and her son, AARON, are grateful for the gym. “At his twice-weekly visits, my son is gaining confidence and making new friends all the time,” McCumbee says. The gym, also open to the community, offers free screenings if anyone has a concern and would like one of the staff members to check it out.
The aim of Therapy Works is to help to connect people and gather resources for a better quality of life.
“We understand that language and life skills transform how we see our world and how we interact with others,” the owner says. Nolan and her staff are on a mission to reach those goals.
To view more of photographer Aris Harding’s work, go to arisharding.com.
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