Regardless of age and ability, improving physical fitness is a very important aspect of a healthy lifestyle. To maintain health and fitness, it is important to include “strengthening” and “conditioning” exercises. As of January 2017, Pop.Earth added the Phoenix Fitness program, which is comprised of classes that focus on sensory integration, functional strength, stability, and coordination. This class was developed by Rob Stevens, who created the Spark Fitness program along with doctors, therapists, and educational and development experts. This program was specifically designed to address coordination and balance issues, and special needs populations, including high functioning ASD individuals. Since 1998, Rob has been working with children who demonstrate attention, learning and behavior issues. Rob is also the author of Finding Robert (2015 Square One Publishers), the story of his son, Robert’s, and his family’s experience with Autism Spectrum Disorder.
The format of these classes is as follows:
1. Individual Greeting (handshake with name exchange and eye contact when possible)
2. Warm Up (jumping jacks, marching in place, skipping in place – staying in center of mat)
3. Basic body weight exercises (varies based on ability; progresses as class advances)
4. Light, resistance exercises (varies based on ability; progresses as class advances)
5. Compound movements (varies based on ability; progresses as class advances)
6. Play movements (varies based on ability; progresses as class advances)
7. Closing Breathing/Affirmation
Classes can be scheduled for a half hour or a full hour, depending on the preference of the participant(s) or partner agency.
One-on-one private sessions/personal training also is available under this program. Each session will focus on:
• Proper form
• Gym safety
• Functional strength & movement
• Sensory Integration (Balance & Laterality)
For optimal results, it is recommended that participants have one hour sessions two to three times per week