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First Ever Fitness Center Specialized For People With Autism Opening In Orange

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Experts say 1 in 88 children will be diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder by the time they reach the age of 8. Fitness and socialization can be an issue for anyone with autism. But, a new gym in Orange aims to give those on the spectrum hope.

Those living with autism like structure. And, that was a primary consideration in designing and laying out the ASD Fitness Center – the first of its kind in the nation.

There are three individual workout stations, at which a client and a personal trainer spend eight minutes. Each eight minute segment is followed by two minutes in a fun zone. Clients will also be able to start a clock that will be placed in each zone. Clients knowing what they are doing and for how long controls their anxiety, which is a key characteristic of autism.

The Yale University Child Study Center, which has worked with some 7,000 children over the past 30 years, plans to tap in to this valuable resource.

“We really have very little data on what happens to people with autism as they get older, past young adulthood,” said Fred Volkmar, MD, Director of the Yale University Child Study Center.

In addition to the equipment and the layout, the ASD Fitness Center is making certain to serve its clients a complete sensory friendly environment.

“The lighting, the flooring, the paint color are critical,” said Adam Leapley, Founder of the ASD Fitness Center. “Typically, when you are working with younger people, you see a gym that has bright colors everywhere, but that could be a sensory challenge.”

The grand opening of the gym is set for Saturday, May 31. But, appointments are already filling up. You are encouraged to log on to to fill out an assessment.

“To make sure that we get all the information possible so that we make sure that our individual fitness plan is very specific for that individual,” said Christina Keating, Executive Director of the ASD Fitness Center.

Autism Resources

ASD Fitness Center

Autism Services & Resources Connecticut

Autism Families Connecticut

Autism Speaks Connecticut

Yale Child Study Center Autism Program


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