St. Vincent’s Special Needs gets a very special pool


St. Vincent’s Special Needs Services (SVSNS) recently celebrated the opening of its new therapeutic pool. Aquatic therapy services will be offered from SVSNS’s Feroleto Children’s Development Center in Trumbull.

“This new state-of-the-art pool will enable us to significantly enhance our current therapies to meet the individual needs of the children and adults in our care,” said SVSNS President and CEO Raymond G. Baldwin Jr.

Aquatic therapy uses the principle of buoyancy which makes exercise easier for individuals with disabilities.

Improves balance, strength and more

Patty Hornak, administrator of rehabilitation services, and aquatic therapy "provides benefits to the whole body and will help us teach new skills in water that will translate to land, improving balance, strength, head control, and even breathing to encourage better communication."

The aquatic therapy pool features an underwater treadmill, resistance jets and a subfloor with holes that allow water to seep through from underneath. The subfloor can be raised or lowered to the desired depth needed for each individual’s therapy.

The subfloor even allows for individuals to be rolled into the water in a wheelchair, rather than using a hoist for lifting, and then glided off the chair once it is submerged, providing a significant safety feature.

St. Vincent’s Special Needs Services will have the option of making this pool available to outside groups such as physical therapists and orthopedic groups for their own rehab programs, to help widen the scope of those served.

Fund-raising effort

Baldwin thanked individuals and businesses that helped make this dream a reality. “We started fundraising three years ago for the more than one million dollars needed, and got an amazing jump start with the Fairfield Christmas Tree Festival, which raised about a third of the cost,” said Baldwin.

Other significant contributors included Eleanor Feroleto, Elizabeth Pfriem, Aquarion Water Co., Mr. and Mrs. Charles Strauss, and the William T. Morris Foundation.

For more information about St. Vincent’s Special Needs Services, call 203-375-6400 or visit