Fitness Programs for Children with Disabilities
October is national awareness month for two topics: Physical Therapy and Childhood Obesity. This is a cross-section that we are passionate about and that we take into the gym with us every day. Often times, children with disabilities are left out of the programs that exist to support families with a child that is at risk of obesity. We are dedicated to changing that with an integrated approach that combines the importance of physical therapy with the excitement of therapeutic play. Read on to learn more.
Physical activity is important for all children, but finding appropriate support for children with disabilities can be difficult. According to data from the Data Resource Center for Child & Adolescent Health, 36.5% of children with disabilities in the US are overweight or obese. This can be an overwhelming challenge, especially for parents of children with disabilities. Your day is filled with IEPs, 504 plans, doctor appointments, therapy appointments, and concerns for your child’s overall well-being. How can you have one more thing to worry about?
At EA Therapeutic Health, we understand the unique physical, social, and emotional needs of your child. Our Fit4Play program is a functional small group program for children ages 5-10 years of age. We cap the enrollment in these classes to four children each to allow each child receives the individualized care and attention that they need to be successful. The structure is based on Autism Fitness Theory, and while this program is designed for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder, it is excellent for children with other intellectual, developmental, and physical disabilities as well. The program has been used successfully with other neurodiverse challenges including, but not limited to, Down Syndrome, Cerebral Palsy, PDD-NOS, ADHD, and others.
The program is led by our therapeutic health team (Physical, Occupational, and Speech Therapists), nutrition professionals, and trained volunteers. During class, children will move, play, take turns, communicate, complete fine motor crafts, work on sensory exploration, and more. This all takes place while being positively supported for the unique challenges that may make play difficult for them in school or at home.
Fit4Play provides your child an opportunity to receive therapy, participate in fitness, and practice social skills with peers in an inclusive and safe environment while being active and having fun. We assess each child individually to ensure that their program is customized to their developmental, physical, and socialization goals.
This month and always, we are dedicated to bringing inclusive opportunities to the community that bridge the gap between therapy and fitness. As a parent of a child with disabilities, you know better than anyone about the importance of meeting your child’s emotional, educational, physical, and medical needs. Our team is here to support you and your child today and into adulthood. Please reach out to us to schedule a free consultation to see if our services might be right for your family.