Featured in Spring 2019 edition of Spectrum Life Magazine
Specialty Athletic Training is a personal training company that specializes in fitness for special populations. Founded in 2012, founder Ryan Lockard aimed to create a program that provided access to healthy living to a community that the fitness industry often overlooks. With a client-centered approach and focus on making fitness fun, Specialty Athletic Training has grown to 5 locations and has served over 350 individuals of various ages and diagnoses throughout Oregon and Southwest Washington.
Many of our clients have had a negative experience with fitness in the past. They also are usually the busiest people that we know (outside of their parents) with super tight schedules filled with therapies and doctors’ appointments. Rarely do they have control of their schedule and are constantly being critiqued and told what their weaknesses are and what they need to improve on.
We take a different approach at Specialty Athletic Training by meeting our clients where they are and allow them to provide input on their workout routine, giving them ownership of their program. We strive to make their sessions fun and provide a positive fitness experience, so that they can’t wait to come back for their next workout. Filling them with self-confidence and self-esteem unlocks their intrinsic motivation, which is the most powerful thing of all!
Parents have come to us in the past wanting us to work with their child on their running form for various reasons; their posture might not be ideal, their gait might be a little awkward, or they don’t use their arms. This leads me to ask the question, “How often do they run?” which often leads to the answer, “They don’t because they run funny.”
They are not encouraged to run because they don’t have the typical running form that their peers may have. If this sounds like your child, the biggest thing that they need is your encouragement and for you to provide opportunities for them to have extra practice with that movement in a natural setting.
If your child is having difficulty running, take them on a run. Don’t focus on their awkward form, but rather reinforce that they are being active and how much joy it brings you to be running with them. This will be the beginning of turning it into an activity that they enjoy, rather than dread. Once you can get them in a positive mindset about running, then you can start making small suggestions to their form to enable them to run more efficiently.
The body simply needs practice moving to move properly. Many of those same kids that have an awkward gait or have trouble running, typically don’t have a physical outlet and are sedentary. They could benefit from basic exercises that you can do at home. These movements not only work on movement patterns and build strength but will also become more fluid over time. Here are 5 exercises that you can do with your child at home.
About the Author
Ryan Lockard, CSCS, CSPS is the head trainer and founder of Specialty Athletic Training. He a member of the Autism Society of Oregon's Board of Directors and is accredited by the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) as a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist and a Certified Special Populations Specialist. Ryan has worked with individuals with special needs since 2007 and has over 10,000 hours of 1:1 instruction working with individuals that have various special needs.