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ASD Fit Pilot Program

 

Starts soon, July times and days updated shortly

running for 9 weeks. book now and I’ll be in touch about the specifics of commencing the program.

Summary

As a parent of a child on the Autism Spectrum I am constantly searching for ways to support him to engage and interact with the world and everyone in it. At times, I am torn between what I want and what my child needs. Searching for something he will enjoy, love and possibly excel in.

I have seen first hand the benefits of exercise for all kinds of children, especially Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) children. Quite often and for many different reasons it is difficult for these children and teenagers to fit into a ‘standard’ gym or martial arts school. Hence, the concept of the ASD Gym was born.Kids Deadlift

The ASD Gym will provide an environment where teens with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) can visit and participate in a range of physical activities, where they can learn to move, get strong and fit.’Move, Strong, and Fit’ are the three elements that help build the physical and mental confidence in everyone. The environment will be designed with three distinct training areas and activities:

  1. Mobility
  2. Strength
  3. Martial Arts

kids swing

 

These activities offer a way to formalise patterns and add structure that many ASD teens find comforting. The Move, Strong, Fit paradigm is one I feel will bring many essentials to the teens as they move from adolescent to young adult. A time when they may feel like they don’t belong and possibly find it difficult to accomplish and achieve goals in the mainstream. Being able to Move, be Strong and Fit will give them confidence in themselves and help them to overcome many situations where they may not have the ability to adjust to specific circumstances, they wont be the ‘misfits’ often associated with ASD children. With a deliberate play on words the MiSFIT name will take pride of place in the Gym. As immortalised by the Apple “Think Different” campaign in the late 90’s, it will help people appreciate that we are different and inspiring in our own ways. Watch the following video to see the poem below, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O0S5SuAwIXs

“Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.” 

Concept Summary

There is a relationship between the body and mind that improves with movement and practice. Best results coming from engaged routines and focused attention from the individual. The path to such physical attention need not be done alone. It is often best done with care and advise from those more experienced.

Children on the spectrum are diverse and complex, yet their are some activities that span this complexity and offer a way for them to focus, interact, develop and improve their self-perception.

The three skill based activities mentioned, offer the kids a way to move and improve their bodies using repeatable and relatable skills they can apply to the rest of their lives.

The MiSFIT pilot program would initially target high functioning ASD children with the support and encouragement of the parent and carer. This pilot program will allow us to gauge the significance of the separate modalities (Mobility, Martial Arts, Strength training) for the Higher functioning participants and allow us to refine the sessions and expectations for the future.

During the pilot process efforts will focus on the three main aspects of: MobilityStrength, and Martial Arts.

Mobility:

Using the Original Strength system offers a fantastic way to learn how the body moves and at the same time increase reflexive strength and coordination, using fundamental body movements including: rocking, rolling, crawling, marching, skipping and running.

Strength:

Strength training will allow the exploration and building of the body to improve underlying strength. It will be based on functional strength training systems using results based methods with skills covering bodyweight, kettlebell and barbell.

Martial arts:

Martial Arts is a pattern based skill which like the skills above is easily teachable and repeatable. Offering a distinct path to follow, combining reflexive strength and mobility, with measurable outcomes that will improve many areas for each participant.

Facility

The goal is to provide a very specific style of facility to coach and support the kids. A facility to give them the best advantage possible to learn and participate in various modes of physical activity. The larger premises as shown in the above concept image would be the upper end of our goal. An area where the spaces are combined would also offer a similar experience with specific times set aside for specific training.

There are many factors we would like to control in a facility such as this. The ability to control lighting and noise would allow trainees with high sensory needs to be able to train and utilise the areas. The same way each individual ASD child is unlike any other, we would like to be able to assist them in learning how to train, by providing a facility that can cater for all.

As a carer reading this, I’m sure you would like to train at the same time as your child, learning with the same vigour and share in the benefits.  You could do your own training while they are working with a coach or have somewhere to leave your child knowing that they will be looked after and instructed in a safe manner.

The concept plan shows specific areas for martial arts training, strength training, and movement training. They are all separate and can operate independently at the same time, without interfering with the other areas. We also feel that it is important to have a transition area for relaxing before and after.

Obviously a facility like this is specifically designed and built, as such this campaign is designed to fit out an existing location with the necessary equipment and areas.

The Program

The pilot program is a 9 week term in 4 parts. The weeks from 1 to 6 cover the individual modalities to focus on the correct patterning and the remaining 3 weeks progress and integrate all aspects together. Ideally there will be 2 sessions per week separated by a few rest days. The rest days allow the students to think about the sessions and do their own practice. Each session has time for skills reinforcement and new skill acquisition. In the final 3 weeks all skills will be applied in each session and this is where the students gain the confidence that will carry on in their every day lives. At the end of the term a progress report will be available for the parents/carers to take for future reference, giving them a comparison and a commentary of the student’s progress from start to finish.

Sessions

In addition to the formal 9 week program there will be a variety of training options ranging from one on one training to workshop. These will vary depending on the individual need of the student. To ensure that a student and the parent understand the processes for a workshop,  individual training or the 9 week program an introduction session will be organised for all new and prospective students.

The facility will have trainers onsite at all times, taking sessions/classes or assisting with training. Meaning that outside of the specified class/session/workshop times there will always be someone nearby to offer help and advice.

Introduction / Induction

Prior to any training a prospective student and their carer/carers will be required to attend an induction session that will last approximately one hour and cover the facility and everything on offer. During the induction we will cover all areas of the ASD that are of concern, with the understanding that the coach is there to ensure safety for the student, the parents and others in the facility.  During the introduction session the coach will provide an initial mobility and coordination assessment that will be used in assistance with the ongoing coaching.

One on One

Scheduled sessions for a particular style, Mobility, Strength, Martial Arts, etc. for an individual covering their style of choice. These are conducted by appointment only.

Small Group

Scheduled classes for a particular style, Mobility, Strength, Martial Arts etc. These will be scheduled on a daily or weekly basis depending on specific popularity.

Classes

Scheduled classes for a particular style, Mobility, Strength, Martial Arts, etc. These will be scheduled on a daily or weekly basis depending on specific popularity.

Workshops

Open sessions available to members, students and prospective new members. These workshops will cover a range of specific training modalities and will be scheduled at different times throughout the year.

Open Training

Open training will be available during times when specific sessions are not in progress. Giving the member an opportunity to practice technique or train on their individualised allocated program.

Memberships

Every new student will be required to complete a membership form. Available memberships include: Casual: Mobility, Strength, Martial Arts, Multiple Class’ Unlimited.


Parent / Carer

As a parent or carer its often difficult to get to a gym for a workout because of the difficulty involved in taking your child along. As the parent or carer of a child who is a gym member, by default they will receive a discounted membership to attend classes and sessions either with their child or in a separate area. This gives parents and carers peace of mind and an opportunity to work on their fitness or connect with other parents and carers.

Conclusion

The MiSFit ASD Gym is a collection of training programs. The facility is a place for ASD teens and carers to do fitness work in a supported environment. An assessment phase has been built into the early part of the project. This will determine the viability of further building the pilot program to include pre-adolescent ASD children.