Of Inchworms and Pterodactyls: Autism Fitness Assessments
“Today you should have seen me and Mousy today, at school today” – “Drugs” Delany, Outside Providence, Greatest Comedic Movie Scene Ever
This afternoon I performed 7 PAC Profile Assessments in two and a half hours, which may or may not be a record.
While there are 18 exercises that I use to assess, programming for most of these new athletes will focus on perhaps 2-4 movement goals. Certainly I want to provide my athletes with a wide range of movement skills, but it is always necessary to provide a situation that is not overwhelming, enough opportunity with new movement activities to become proficient, and enough secondary reinforcement for this physical activity stuff to eventually become reinforcing.
One new athlete was able to perform just about every assessment activity. His movement patterns were very rote; lumped clay that will have to be shaped, molded, and strengthened to result in what we would look at and call good, healthy movement. But he was able to perform an approximation of each based on my demonstration.
On the other side of Adaptive Land, another new athlete was quite set on spending our time sitting on the floor, where we may wind up a few times over the next few sessions. We’ll meet at her current level of ability and motivation, building skills from there.
For both of these emerging athletes, initial goals will probably consist of 2-4 activities. Seems like a few. But these are necessary pillars of movement upon which we can develop new skills. From success with these primary goals, we can progress. Add movement, add resistance, add time, add locomotion. But we must start here.
Too many new activities will be overwhelming, and, generally, the ASD population needs an awful lot of practice to both master and enjoy exercise activities. Flight of the Pterodactyl? We will get there. However we will start as inchworms.