Witness the Autism Fitness magic in our new blog!
Welcome to the new blog for the autism division of Get Fit NH. By following this blog, you’ll have an opportunity to follow, observe, or witness, the Autism Fitness magic that happens regularly here.
In the last couple of months, much has been going on behind the scenes. As I continue working with my athletes in their individual programs and having them amaze me pretty much every session, our mission is gradually taking shape. We now have two more coaches certified to train athletes using the Autism Fitness approach and we have begun planning what we will be able to offer in the coming months. First, we will now be able to provide one on one training for more adults on the Autism Spectrum than was possible when I was the only certified Autism Fitness professional here. Second, we have a plan that will enable us to reach out to the wider community. While our one to one training will continue to focus solely on adults, we will also offer the three hour Autism Fitness “Try This @ Home” hands on workshop for parents and caregivers of athletes of any age. I held the first of these in November at Get Fit NH and it was well received. At the workshop, I encouraged parents to think of fitness as a life skill and they left empowered to go home and set up an environment to help their own athletes with autism make fitness a part of their lives. Our plan going forward is to do these a few times a year at Get Fit NH and even “take our show on the road” to bring the magic of Autism Fitness to camps or day programs where this programming would be useful.
Please follow us here and watch our Facebook page to be a “witness” to our Autism Fitness programming. We will be announcing our first workshop in the coming weeks as well as the availability of more one on one training opportunities. In the future, I’ll be using the blog to share videos and write pieces about Autism Fitness concepts and principles.
Yours in the Movement for Movement,
I wrote this blog post just a few days ago, but had not yet published it. And then everything changed because of the rapidly spreading CoronaVirus. All of a sudden, I could no longer work with my athletes at the gym. Henry and I were isolated at home and we needed to figure out a new normal. Today we were spending time outside and I was thinking about how hard this is, especially for people with autism. Families everywhere are coming to a new understanding of how important structure and routine is for their mental health. But autism parents have known it all along. For my Henry, the difference between having a schedule versus not having one means the difference between a calm, peaceful, interactive day and a very anxious day with a lot of ritualistic behaviors and stims. He depends on his monthly calendar that we keep on the fridge and checks it several times a day. Seeing “gym” on the calendar on our regular gym days as well as all the other activities scheduled on the other days was his rudder in a stormy sea. In late March, gradually these activities were erased, until the calendar was blank.
There is nothing more anxiety provoking for Henry than an empty calendar. It was pretty clear to me that that calendar had to come down and get replaced by a new daily schedule each day. Filling that schedule was the next challenge. I know I share that challenge with all parents, but I especially relate to autism parents who right now are trying to be everything to their families: teachers, direct support staff, chefs, housekeepers, etc. all while trying to explain it all to our kids who most likely will not be able to understand why the rug has just been pulled out from under them. It’s up to us again to provide them with some stability - and the sooner the better.
Over the last year, Autism Fitness has given us functional, meaningful activities to enrich Henry’s days. Now when so many others are looking for this very thing, I’ve decided to tweak the mission of our program for now. I’m going to use this blog and our Facebook page to coach and encourage parents to add exercise to the daily schedules of their athletes with autism during their time at home together. Since we are all at home anyway, there can be no better time to “Try This @ Home.”
We're all in this together, let's make it happen.