Autism Fitness Professional Training: New Top Secret Videos!
This past week I had the opportunity to provide an Autism Fitness workshop for an enthusiastic group of fitness professionals in NYC. We had a small space in which to work, but given my history of putting together fitness programs in some very tiny areas, this too worked out and worked out well. In the videos below are several group activities that I use with individuals who are intermediate- to high-functioning on the PAC Profile. For this type of activity to be effective, physically the participants have to be able to successfully perform some variation of the movements (throws, jumps), Adaptively they have to tolerate standing in their spot (not wandering around or avoiding the activity) and be motivated to participate long enough to actually engage, and Cognitively, must understand the concepts of throwing to the next person, differentiating between different types of throws, and sequencing the activities.
For many individuals on the autism spectrum, this group activity is too advanced, meaning they won’t get much out of it. Just because it looks cool and seems fun does not automatically make it an activity that works for your athletes. Yet. These videos demonstrate some progressions that can be added to make the Sandbell/Med ball throwing game more dynamic. We’re adding more movement into the sequence. Consider how we can progress (advance) an activity by adding a different type of throw, a push, locomotion, or a squat.
Even within a group that is “All Highs” on the PAC Profile, you will have variation in physical skills. With these types of active play movements, each individual can perform the exercise to the best of their current ability without the coach or instructor needing extra time to modify the game. Think about that in contrast to sports activities, where you are either catering to the most capable or least capable athlete (and everyone just stands around and waits for it to be his/her turn). Here, we have almost constant movement, using most or all of the Big 5 movement patterns (which, as I typically point out, I did NOT invent).
All of these activities are scale-able. We can regress them or progress them to meet the abilities and needs of the group.