Our staff and facility offer an environment and culture in which clients and therapists strive together for achievement of functional goals and improved health. Functional goals may include: improved walking and standing, transfer ability, trunk stability, posture, balance, and strength, and sport participation.
Health and wellness goals include: significant gains in cardiovascular and pulmonary function, increased bone density, decreased spasticity, reduction in the risk of skin lesions, and enhanced glucose tolerance.
Jenny Suggitt is an occupational therapist from Chicago, Illinois who is joining NextSteps as Director of Operations. Jenny received her Masters in Occupational Therapy in 2009 from Columbia University in New York City. Prior to joining our team, she lived and worked in the United Kingdom as Center Manager for Neurokinex, a fellow NeuroRecovery Network community fitness and wellness center. Jenny has worked at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago and Shriners Hospital for Children where she treated a variety of neurological, developmental and orthopedic conditions with a professional interest in spinal cord injury. Jenny is also a trained aquatic therapist as well as a Certified Lymphedema Therapist with specialization in Breast Cancer Rehabilitation.
Jenny has spent the majority of her career working with children from birth through full development across all levels of complexity. She has worked in a variety of settings including inpatient rehabilitation, outpatient therapy and pediatric sensory integration gyms.
Maryleen (Mary) K. Jones, PT, MPT, DHSc, CLT, NCS is an Assistant Professor at Governors State University, currently teaching courses in patient management, neurotherapeutics, clinical education, and integrative research. Mary, received her Master of Physical Therapy degree from Governors State University, and Doctor of Health Science degree from The University of Indianapolis with a concentration in Neuroscience and Adult Education. Mary is a board certified Neurologic Clinical Specialist and a Certified Lymphedema Therapist. Mary’s research interests involve chronic neurological conditions as related to function, health, wellness, and quality of life. Mary is an active member of the American Physical Therapy Association, with active involvement in the Neurologic, Orthopedic, Oncology, and Acute Care Academies. Mary also serves in leadership of the Illinois Physical Therapy Association.
Madeline Jendra, PT, DPT graduated from St. Louis University’s Doctorate of Physical Therapy program. She is passionate about treating patients with neurological conditions and helping patients regain function and independence. She is a current member of the American of Physical Therapy Association (APTA) and is enthusiastic about becoming more involved in the NeuroRecovery Network community.
Madeline is always staying up-to-date on the latest research and technology available in the neurological rehabilitation community. She is currently participating in some of the most cutting edge research at NextSteps Chicago and looks forward to seeing what the future holds in regards to rehabilitation for patients.
Kate Benson, PTA. graduated from Illinois State University in 2008 with a Bachelor of Science in Art concentrating in metalworking and glass. After graduating, Kate worked as a Dental Laboratory Technician fabricating oral prosthetics. Motivated by previous professional level Cecchetti ballet training and Pilates matwork at the Conservatory of Dance in Chicago, Kate became certified in 2009 as a Group Exercise Instructor through the Athletics and Fitness Association of America. By 2013, Kate accomplished over 450 hours of study completing her Pilates apprenticeship at Core Fitness and Physical Therapy in Evergreen Park.
Kate has multiple certifications related to the Pilates Method including Pilates for Neurologic Conditions. Kate attended the Physical Therapist Assistant Program at Fox College in Tinley Park and graduated with her PTA degree in 2017. She hopes to continue to expand her knowledge in physical therapy as well as alternative disciplines for the benefit of patients and clients. Kate is a member of the American and Illinois Physical Therapy Association as well as a credentialed clinical instructor.
James Borre, PTA has been a part of the NextSteps family since 2006. Jim started his career with NextSteps as a Neuro Adaptive and Fitness Trainer, and after graduating with a PTA degree from Fox College in 2017 he rejoined our clinical physical therapy team. Jim was inspired by Jon O’Connor and is proud to honor his memory through the genuine care he has for NextStep’s patients. He strives to provide a safe environment where patients can challenge themselves to achieve their highest potential.
Jim is also an Assembly Representative to the Illinois Physical Therapy Association (IPTA), a member of the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA),and a credentialed clinical instructor.
Tomas Dockus, MS graduated from the Lithuanian Academy of Physical Education with a Master’s degree in Physical Education and Exercise in 1999. While working on his Master’s, Tomas worked at World Class Fitness in Kaunas, Lithuania as a personal trainer. It was at this facility that he gained experience designing exercise programs for both the general population and professional athletes. After Tomas and his family moved to the United States in 2002, he worked as a personal trainer for the Orland Park Life Time Fitness center. In June of 2004, he joined the NextSteps team and under the tutelage of Jon O’Connor, helped create and implement an aggressive locomotor training program for people living with paralysis.
Tomas is certified through the National Academy of Sports Medicine and maintains both personal trainer certification with the International Sports Sciences Association and certified strength and conditioning specialist with the National Strength and Conditioning Association. Additionally, Tomas is a certified user of Hocoma Lokomat and Argo’s ReWalk. His focus for continuing education includes activity based therapy and locomotor training.
Creighton Goss graduated from Benedictine University in 2014 with a Bachelors degree in Exercise and Sports Studies. Creighton is certified through ACSM as a Certified Inclusive Fitness Trainer, ReWalk certification, RTI certifications for electrical stimulation and has his locomotor training certifications with Lokomat and Therastride. He started as an aide in 2015 and quickly moved up to becoming an exercise therapist and then moved in the manager position of the Neuro Adaptive Fitness & Wellness program.
Creighton comes from a unique background as he has been around spinal cord injuries since 2010. Creighton’s dad has been his inspiration to become a Neuro Exercise Specialist and help others who have neurological disabilities as his dad is a paraplegic. Creighton is always passionate about providing the best care to his clients and interacting with everyone who has questions about neurological disabilities.
Adrianne Peralta graduated from Illinois State University in 2018 with a Bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science. She joined the team in July of 2018 after interning with the Neuro Adaptive Fitness and Wellness Program. Adrianne is a Certified Inclusive Fitness Trainer through the ACSM and works alongside Josh as an aide. She enjoys getting to know the patients and clients on a personal level and hopes to help people with paralysis have the best quality of life.
Josh Belske has been an aide at Next Steps Chicago since July of 2012. Over the past seven years he has grown as an employee through his experiences through client care. He enjoys working with both physical therapy and neuro adaptive fitness and wellness patients; getting to know them personally and helping out whenever he is available. He has taken over the role of teaching the new aides all there is to know about the facility and how big of an asset their job really is.
Josh got involved at Next Steps after his father started as a patient here in March of 2011 after being involved in a diving accident. Josh is great at connecting with each patient and can relate to them on a personal level.
Natali Ivanova graduated from Illinois State University in 2019 with a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology. She joined the team in the Fall of 2019 as the front desk coordinator. Natali is here to answer any questions and is always willing to help our patients and their families have a positive experience at NextSteps by overseeing office operations.