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Swimming program 'AquAbility' makes positive splash for people with disabilities

Pay It Forward: AquAbility is a therapeutic program for people with disabilities. (KBOI)

This month's Pay It Forward goes to Karen Morrison, the founder and director of AquAbility, a 501(c)3 non-profit that works with children and adults with disabilities.

Karen's brand of therapy requires her clients to get wet. And they love it.

Sometimes those clients will learn to swim.

"We have kids who don't walk, but they can swim," Morrison said.

Yet, AquAbility sessions are not swimming lessons.

This therapeutic aquatic program works on strength, flexibility and mobility. It helps the children to focus, listen and follow instructions.

"Just their attention to task and learning colors and counting and all that," Morrison explained. "Using the water medium is what we do."

"Karen is amazing," said Terri Sullivan, who has a son in the program.

Her son, Dakota, is a 9-year-old with autism.

"I've noticed confidence levels going up. Actually his speech has gotten a little better. But I think that's all confidence as well," she said.

Sarah Mcatee's son, Zac, has Holoprosencephaly, a deformation of the brain that leaves him totally dependent on others.

"Karen has spent a lot of time with Zac," Mcatee said. "He loves it. It's his place. He likes to be in the water. He likes to come here. He likes to spend time with her, and for 30 minutes a week, he is a normal kid in the pool."

Sarah nominated AquAbilityfor a Pay It Forward and Tim Toy of Mountain America Credit Union did just that. He presented her with an envelope with $500 inside.

"Thank you so much," Morrison said as she shook his hand.

Morrison started AquAbility in Ketchum. When she expanded to Boise two years ago, she had just a handful of clients. Now she has more than 80 with a long waiting list.

Morrison says perhaps it is time to expand again.

"The need is here. And now we need to start teaching and training more people because it's a very special niche," Morrison told KBOI 2News. "It is so rewarding to make a difference in their lives. But it gives so much more. It's very rewarding."

For more information on AquAbility, click here.

Do you know someone, like AquAbility or an individual, who is quietly making a difference in the Treasure Valley? Nominate them for a Pay It Forward!

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