Adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities are at risk of obesity due to an inactive lifestyle, although the reasons behind this connection are subject to debate, one thing is certain — individuals with IDD often face unique challenges associated with physical fitness.
That is because the core features of intellectual and developmental disabilities, including social, communication, and behavior problems, can make it tough for these individuals to get involved in team sports at a young age, which may lead to a more inactive lifestyle into adulthood. Those with intellectual and developmental disabilities also often face challenges with motor skills, impacting their balance and coordination.
Due to these barriers experienced throughout one’s life, we developed our fitness education program at the Adult Autism Center. We provide opportunities for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities to get more involved in physical activities so that they can improve their health and build confidence.
Our goal at the Adult Autism Center is to help our clients transition into a more physical, healthy lifestyle. Since individuals with autism often avoid physical activities and sports growing up, often due to various symptoms of intellectual and developmental disabilities, we strive to help these individuals become more active.
Clients will learn and participate in various fitness activities and learn different physical activities. There will be fitness equipment they can learn how to use appropriately. As they become more involved in fitness, we help them discover new activities they may enjoy.
As our clients become more active, many experience improvements in various forms of negative behavior. An increase in physical activity can also impact stress levels, anxiety, depression, and frustration. Our fitness education program may also help improve communication, concentration, and more.
Instruction will be individualized for the clients based on ability and interest. There will be a treadmill, exercise bike, elliptical, balance balls, and resistance bands. Clients will be introduced to the equipment and instructed on how to use it safely and effectively.
Our goal is to educate individuals on the benefits associated with becoming more physically active, motivating them to make positive changes to their lifestyle. A variety of options are available to choose from, and all activities are adjusted to meet each individual’s needs. By pairing exercise and physical activity with reinforcement, we ensure this program is fun and rewarding. Whenever possible, we encourage socialization through small group activities.
Baseline data will be collected about their ability levels and independence in completing the various fitness activities to determine their individual skill level. This will help determine specific goals and the curriculum. Each fitness plan will focus on simple skills first, building in complexity when appropriate.
We understand that each individual faces unique challenges, which is why no two program plans are identical. While some individuals benefit from visual instructions, others require us to make sensory adjustments. We also consider each individual’s physical capabilities in terms of gross motor development. We get to know our clients, taking a person-centered approach.
When it comes to physical activity and intellectual and developmental disabilities, there are various considerations that need to be taken into account, including one’s physical capabilities (i.e. motor skills) and cognitive development. Placement is determined based on each individual’s current skills, as well as their interests and goals.
Research shows a benefited link between intellectual and developmental disabilities and fitness. Specifically, exercise and physical activity, including basic strength and coordination exercises are important therapeutic interventions for those living with IDD. That is why we continually monitor each individual to ensure they get the most out of our fitness education program.
Client progress will be monitored and measured based on increased independence in their ability to complete tasks. Client health factors will also be monitored to determine progress as well. This could include weight, blood pressure, cholesterol, etc. We actively work with each individual to establish lifelong healthy habits while boosting their confidence and reducing symptoms associated with autism.
Enrollment is easy. Simply contact our team and express your interest. We ask those interested to fill out our referral form so that we can get to know you or your loved one on a more personal level. This will allow us to create a more individualized plan.
Do you have a loved one or family member that would benefit from one of our programs?
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