Exercise Programme Helping Special Needs Children

(PR.co.nz) A pioneering exercise programme involving children with a wide range of physical and mental disabilities including; those left brain damaged from domestic abuse and prenatal drug/alcohol use has been launched at an Auckland city gym.

More than 70 special needs children are taken through a functional training training programme each week where they develop motor skills, lose weight, gain confidence and build strength.

Children and young adults with a variety of issues from traumatic brain injuries to autism, Down syndrome, and cerebral palsy take part in a four week cycle of common functional training techniques which are adapted by specialists.

Already two of the programme’s students have progressed to gaining valuable experience in the gym as they work towards their goal of full time fitness industry employment.

Next month a number of the athletes will showcase their newly learned skills at a national CrossFit competition. Later in the year they will also compete alongside mainstream athletes as part of an international collaboration between NZ and USA to develop the programme.

Trainer Mark Michaels says he’s been amazed at the progress of the children which has ranged from weight loss to significant vocal and cognitive improvements for those participating.

“It’s been incredibly inspiring to watch these kids you couldn’t help be moved when you see the joy on their faces after they’ve completed some of the tasks.

“We’ve seen a huge lift in their confidence levels and many of the parents have been brought to tears by the change in their children,” he says.

Michaels who is one of the 80 volunteers says already the programme is attracting attention throughout the popular inner city gym, with many members volunteering their time also.

“It’s wonderful to see the gym community come together to support these athletes and help them to develop skills most of us take for granted,” he says.

Media Release 13 October 2015.