First, we asked the folks at the gym about their busiest and least busiest times, going during off-peak hours means less distractions. Then, we allowed Richie to use the iPad for keeping him comfortable through the introduction of the different machines and their many uses. He was able to set the device on the base of most machines while he did the exercise. Once we taught him how to position himself and use the machines, he moved like a pro! It was fun to watch him challenge himself each time he tried a new machine!
Unfortunately, statistics reveal that children with special needs are at greater risk for obesity. Healthier changes won’t happen overnight, but you can begin to take small steps to get your family moving and learning healthier habits. About two months ago, while my ten-year old step-son Tiki was at football practice, I started taking Richie to walk the high school track nearby. Of course, that was short lived, because with the fall came earlier sunsets, and the no see-ums were in a rampant attack mode!
If you're trying new activities with your child with special needs, and your experience isn't as positive, please remember that it won't always be for any of us. It's not just your child that struggles. Richie has good and bad days, I know there will be days that I will need to leave the gym within five minutes of our arrival. I expect them. I don't always feel well, or not up to the physical challenges of exercising, and I know Richie will have those days too. His not being able to communicate those feelings makes things even harder. Please be patient, it takes time to adapt to new changes. For more ideas, or if your child has physical limitations, please check out this cool site for ideas and tips on healthier living. Their theme is all about: Building Healthy Inclusive Communities.
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