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Introduction

This book is intended to be used by anyone who works with special populations – or wants to work with special populations – and doesn’t know where to begin. It will provide strategies for special populations, in particular individuals affected by Down syndrome, autism spectrum disorder, and non-ambulatory individuals whose mobility is limited to a wheelchair. This book is designed to be accompanied by the Course Description and videos that are included there.

Course Description:

Help Special Populations Thrive Through Fitness

Working with special populations, in particular individuals affected by Down syndrome, autism spectrum disorder, and non-ambulatory individuals who are limited to a wheelchair, requires a unique set of skills. A trainer/coach has to:

  • be willing to be flexible, but also be able to hold the line when necessary;
  • be able to extend empathy, but also know when to encourage a client to push through;
  • understand how to balance the needs of the client, but also meet the requests of the parent or caregiver;
  • and, at times, provide hands-on support to guide client’s through the movements.

Different diagnoses, triggers, and anxieties, along with varied abilities, warrant an individualized approach to health and fitness for these clients. If you have an open heart, a passion for helping people, and also know how to have fun, you will quickly find working with special populations to be some of the most challenging and most rewarding training of your career. The clients will want to continue to work with you and their parents and caregivers will thank you for your hard work and dedication to improving the quality of life for the special people in their lives. And it will change your life as much – or more – as it changes your clients’ lives.

Anna Woods, owner of sheSTRENGTH training, will guide you through the process to create individualized and group plans for specialized diagnoses. Anna has been working with special populations since 2008. She coaches clients through her personal business in her barn gym office in rural Kansas, her app, and through Disability Supports of the Great Plains, LLC. To meet the needs of this broad client base, she developed her own fitness tools and created programming for adults with special needs. Her work has been featured in articles in CrossFit Journal and Breaking Muscle, and she has hosted webinars on training for special populations. Anna is also a mom of three children – two with special needs.

What’s in the curriculum?

The Adaptive Fitness Exercise Program training will prepare you with the knowledge and skills needed to effectively work with individuals with Down syndrome, autism spectrum disorder, and non-ambulatory individuals:

  • An understanding of the common diagnoses
  • An understanding of caregivers and how to incorporate them into the programs
  • How to communicate best with each population
  • A detailed plan for the initial consultation
  • How to prepare a program for each population
  • Suggestions to motivate clients and caregivers
  • How to plan for group sessions
  • Suggestions for building a client base

How do I become an Adaptive Fitness Exercise Specialist?

To become an Adaptive Fitness Exercise Programmer, you must complete eight modules, each of which requires reading a handbook, watching videos and passing an exam. Upon completion, you will be recognized as an Adaptive Fitness Exercise Programmer. This specialist program is valued at 4 continuing education hours.

Download this eBook and get started here. As you read through each module there will be accommodating quiz questions and videos, please follow along reading the eBook with the videos in the course.