Fitting in Better by Getting Fit

Laura has Down syndrome.  She used to be overweight.  Since joining a fitness program at her school, she’s more confident and focused, and yes, she’s also lost 20 lbs. Michael has autism.  He completed OT in preschool and has recently finished 40 sessions of vision therapy.  Now he’s sharpening his visual-spatial awareness and motor planning by playing virtual soccer. Ryan asks all week if it’s Sunday yet.  He can’t wait to go to KEEN for basketball.  His devoted volunteer George wouldn’t miss a session either. Fitness Training Builds More Than Muscles Laura, Michael and Ryan are three of many kids with autism, mental retardation, cerebral palsy and genetic disorders who are growing stronger, happier, and more confident through fitness training. “Nobody’s ever pushed these kids,” says Laura’s coach Tom Yarnell, who developed the “Power Inside” program at the Pathfinder School in Pittsburgh.  “Getting them physically fit and understanding how their bodies work helps them function better in the world.” He…