2006 Conference General Sessions




Belinda Stillwell
California State University
, Northridge
18111 Nordhoff Street
Northridge CA 91330-8287

Day Phone: 818-677-5710
Fax: 818-677-3246

Email: belinda.stillwell@csun.edu

Presenter #2
Loren Ward
California State University
, Northridge
18111 Nordhoff Street
Northridge CA 91330-8287
Day Phone: 818-677-2182
Fax: 818-677-3246
Email: loren.ward@csun.edu

Presenter #3

Nicole Cavalino
California State University, Northridge
18111 Nordhoff Street
Northridge, CA 91330-8287
Email: nicole.cavalino@csun.edu

This lecture presents CSUN's Center of Achievement which houses a state-of-the-art aquatic and land-based exercise program for individuals with disabilities.

California State University, Northridge is home to the Center of Achievement. This unique state-of-the-art facility features the Abbott and Linda Brown Western Center for Adaptive Aquatic Therapy (the Brown Center) and a land-based therapeutic exercise program for individuals with disabilities. Our vision is inspired by the belief that all people with disabilities be afforded the opportunity; regardless of their socio-economic status, ethnicity, age, or disability to access adapted exercise programs that enhance the quality of life. The mission of the Center is to create a multidisciplinary education model that promotes academic excellence, community service and scholarship of students and faculty while fulfilling the University’s mission to form alliances within the community and uphold respect for all persons. This paper will describe how this state-of-the-art facility and academic curriculum work in unison to provide a quality experience for individuals studying adapted physical activity and the recipients of our many aquatic and land adapted therapeutic exercise classes.   

The Brown Center features three indoor treatment-specific pools and a spa. The movable floor pool can be raised to deck level and lowered to seven feet or set at any level in between. The adjustable floor not only allows for deep water exercise, but can also accommodate individuals in wheelchairs, young children and infants. This pool includes an underwater treadmill and portable aqua bike. Water temperatures range between 89-92 degrees. The main therapy pool has two underwater treadmills and a portable aqua bike for stroke recovery, arthritis relief and muscular re-education. A special current control device provides additional resistance so participants can work on dynamic balance activities and swimming skills. Additionally, this pool is equipped with a long swim bench for seated exercises as well as internal pool railings for balance and gait activities. This pool can be accessed through the use of a hydro lift, a long wet ramp with handrails, a dry ramp that allows for wheelchair transfers and stairs with handrails. Water temperatures range between 90-93 degrees. The cool pool is customized for those with neurological disorders such as multiple sclerosis and heat sensitivity. This pool has internal pool railings for balance and gait activities, current controls to enhance core strength, a portable aqua bike and a manual treadmill. This pool can be accessed through an electric chair lift, dry ramp or stairs with handrails. Water temperatures range between 78-81 degrees. Lastly, the spa includes water jets that are strategically placed alongside specialized seating structures to facilitate muscle relaxation and reduce pain to major joints. Access can be gained through a specially-engineered swivel chair and wide staircase with railings. Water temperatures range between 100-103 degrees. Also available in each pool area are numerous pieces of specific aquatic equipment for resistance training, buoyancy control, flexibility exercises and swimming skills as well as underwater cameras for analysis of upper and lower extremity movements.

The land-based program is comprised of two large exercise rooms. One room contains eight treatment tables for flexibility and manual resistance exercises, three standing tilt tables, several core strengthening stations and a fine motor skills table. The second room (the machine-based room) has a variety of specially-designed weight and strength machines that encourage isometric, isotonic and isokinetic muscle activity. Other pieces include standing frames, easy gliders, arm bikes, stationary bikes, elliptical trainers, treadmills with suspension harnesses, sky-walkers, kinetrons, flexacisers, nu-steps, a cross-crawl brain patterning machine, Biodex balance station, trampolines, free weights, portable hallway gait trainer with suspension harness and traditional parallel bars. Adjacent to the machine-based room are the assessment room and adapted physical activity research laboratory. Digital and video cameras are also available to record exercise movements, balance and locomotor patterns.

The remaining space in the Center consists of five private dressing rooms, two public locker rooms, two children’s changing and restroom areas, staff locker rooms and restroom, a spacious lobby with a coffee and tea bar, pool observation room, conference room, faculty and staff offices, mechanical rooms and laundry room. Additionally, the flexibility and manual exercise rooms, conference room and lobby contain projection and sound systems for presentation purposes as well as sound systems in each pool area.        

Rather than a traditional medical approach, the Center focuses on an educational model that emphasizes faculty and students working together in a scholarly environment to learn about and work with individuals with disabilities in a movement setting. Courses are available at both the undergraduate and graduate level that contain such topics as therapeutic exercise principles for land and water, equipment use, assessment, evaluation, program design and adapted physical activity in sport and community settings. Community workshop offerings include adapted Tai Chi (land), aquatics for individuals affected by arthritis and multiple sclerosis, deep water exercise and aquatic therapeutic exercise for children. Most academic courses have a laboratory component assigned to them which allows students an opportunity to work directly with individuals and groups with disabilities. Others become involved as group exercise instructors for the community workshop times.  

The Center is a place where state-of-the-art facility technology and academics come together to provide a mutual opportunity for students to learn and recipients of our programs to optimize their quality of life in a caring and social atmosphere. Through the use of our three specialized treatment pools and spa, cutting-edge aquatic equipment and extensive land-based exercise rooms, the Center is able to provide highly individualized and group exercise programs to CSUN students with disabilities and community members. The Center looks forward to a bright future as the academic curriculum and community programs continue to grow with excellence.

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