BOISE - Lullaby Waters is not your typical occupational therapy clinic. It focuses on the healing power of water, and children with special needs are seeing real results from this unique form of therapy.
"We call it the lullaby effect," said Nicole Nickell, an occupational therapist. "We wanted it to embody what we were going for and that was that peaceful, easy feeling."
Nickell is passionate about helping children with special needs, but getting her idea off the ground was a big undertaking. The first challenge came in finding a landlord that would accept the installation of a pool. Nickell found a spot in a building on Broadway Avenue.
"We had the pool installed," she said. "It's state of the art - an endless pool."
Now six months after opening, the indoor aquatic therapy center is a dream come true for Nickell.
"It's been a big venture," she said. "But I would say that it's already worth it."
Her clients agree.
"I was expecting a hospital setting with a big waiting room, but when I came here it was very intimate and relaxed and just what we were looking for," said Isabella Hale, whose baby daughter, Leona, loves getting in the water. "It's definitely one of her favorite therapies. A time when she can smile and play in the water because she is free."
Nickell says the serenity provided by aquatic therapy is second to none, especially for children with special needs.
"Leona has cerebral palsy and she has very high muscle tone, so we've been working with Leona to try to help her relax and find that peace, that calm, decrease her pain," said Nickell.
"We tailor the pool," she explained. "We like to dim the lights and put on the star lights. She likes it more calm and serene and then we play her lullaby music."
Leona's parents are seeing results, including weight gain and better sleep.
"Once we can get that calm easy feeling, we can grow," said Nickell. "That's one of our mottos here - peace equals progress. We say it all the time."
Nickell says this type of therapy works for any child with challenges, including autism, cerebral palsy, ADHD, Down syndrome, just to name a few.
"It's really important that you try anything for your kids when you are a special need mom," said Isabella.
Nickell also works with pregnant moms to ease pain, and offers other services. For more information, and how your or your child can take part in this unique therapy, contact Lullaby Waters on Facebook and on its website.