In June, it will be the two year anniversary of the Autism Fitness Level I Certification. Since that first seminar in Massapequa, New York, we’ve certified over 160 dedicated professionals and family members to provide the highest quality fitness and adapted physical education programs to the individuals with autism they work, live with, and care for.
I’ve just returned from Singapore, having taught the Autism Fitness Level I Certification to a smart, enthusiastic group of 38 (we oversold) professionals and parents. We had representatives from Singapore, Indonesia, India, Australia, the UK, and one or two other nations that I would remember if the jet lag and almost-a-cold-but-fighting-it-off were still not factors in my cognitive capacity. What we accomplished I cannot fully grasp.
The Singapore seminar was a defining point for Autism Fitness. Since the inception of the Autism Fitness Certification, the mission has been one of education and empowerment. Our Movement for Movement is about creating a high standard of practice and access for all individuals with ASD.
What is still seeping into my brain, something that I do not yet fully “get,” is the impact of travelling more than halfway around the world to make this Movement and reality.
The seminar attendees will go back the their athletes with autism this week. They may just implement the concepts from the weekend; pairing, behavior-specific praise, progressions and regressions with Dynamax ball push throws and overhead throws, Sandbell presses, walking band pulls. Their athletes will grow stronger, move better, perhaps begin to enjoy physical activity for the first time.
To enhance lives through fitness, to see that this and future generations of children, teens, and adults healthier and more independent, is an achievement that, I am slowly aware, is materializing. But we are far from optimal. Optimal requires many more Autism Fitness Certified Pros.
But I know you are out there. I know you are dedicated, capable, and motivated. I know, given the concepts, structure, and programming, that what started as a response to the lack of meaningful programs for a population can define what is possible through physical activity.